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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 17, 2009

Date published:
September 17, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Australia confirms worlds selection

    Australian time trial champion Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) failed to make the top 10.
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 3:44 BST
    Greg Johnson

    No TT for Evans, Rogers; Goss left out of Swiss selection

    Cycling Australia has announced its final selection for this month’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships in Switzerland. Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) will not contest the individual time trial race, instead riding the road event with Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and Simon Gerrans (Cervelo Test Team).

    After recovering from a stomach bug which saw him withdraw from the Vuelta a Espana, Allan Davis will contest the road race. A worlds spot will be the icing on the cake for Davis, who won the Tour Down Under in January and has started both the Vuelta and Giro d’Italia in 2009.

    Despite out-pacing Davis to win Paris-Bruxelles last weekend, Matthew Goss didn’t make the final selection for Australia’s worlds team. Goss said following his sprint victory in Brussels that he hoped it was the first of many one-day victories, but the rainbow jersey on offer on Mendrisio’s hilly course won’t be the sprinter’s next one-day victory.

    Other riders announced on the long list that didn’t make the final team include former Tour de France green jersey winner Baden Cook, current Australian Road Race Champion Peter McDonald, Brett Lancaster, Ritchie Porte, Mark Renshaw and Chris Sutton.

    Rogers’ focus on the road race opens the door for Cameron Wurf to join Australian Time Trial Champion Adam Hansen in the time trial.

    Oceania Road Race champion Alexis Rhodes head’s the women’s team, which includes Vicki Whitelaw, Emma Mackie, Rochelle Gilmore, Tiffany Cromwell and Ruth Corset. Rhodes and Whitelaw will be joined by Oceania champion Bridie O’Donnell in the women’s time trial.

    Australia will also field a strong Under 23 men’s lineup, with Jack Bobridge, Leigh Howard and Timothy Roe amongst the five-strong road race squad. Bobridge will also contest the time trial, where he will be joined by Oceania champion John Anderson and Travis...

  • Millar aiming for Vuelta stage win on Saturday

    David Millar (Garmin - Slipstream)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 5:52 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Wants to go one better than Valencia TT

    Scottish rider David Millar will hold back on the Vuelta a Espana’s mountain stages over the next two days in order to have the best chance possible of winning the 27.8 kilometre Toledo time trial this weekend. The 32-year-old finished second behind Fabian Cancellara in the Valencia time trial, conceding 32 secconds over the 30 kilometre distance.

    Bert Grabsch (Columbia HTC) was a further four seconds back in third. Both Cancellara and Grabsch have since left the race, making Millar the logical favourite for Saturday’s race against the clock.

    “I feel good. I was a bit sick the last few days, I had a stomach bug which knocked me for six,” he told Cyclingnews. “The plan is damage limitation for the next two days, so I am as fresh as possible for the time trial. That’s what I’ve got my mind focussed on now.”

    Whether or not he wins on Saturday, he said that he won’t ride the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Time Trial Championship race in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Finishing the Vuelta doesn’t leave him with enough time to comfortably get to Switzerland and to recover prior to the start of the race against the clock. Instead, he will target another goal.

    “The road race is my other focus, after the Vuelta TT. It is the first time we have a nine man team, so Britain are taking it very seriously. I want to ride well there,” he said.

    The lineup of that squad is due to be confirmed this week. Fellow Vuelta a Espana competitor Roger Hammond (Cervélo Test Team) is also hoping to be selected for the road race.

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  • Grabsch exits Vuelta ahead of Worlds

    Bert Grabsch (Columbia-HTC) rode into third place on the stage.
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 10:00 BST
    Shane Stoke

    World TT champion heads home in advance of title defence

    World time trial champion Bert Grabsch has decided to call a halt to his Vuelta a Espana campaign and will not take the start today in Talavera de la Reina. The Columbia HTC rider told Cyclingnews after Wednesday’s stage that he has opted to head home, recover from the race and complete his preparation for his title defence.

    “I will stop today. In one week the world championship [time trial] will take place,” he said. “I will need three days to recover and then I will prepare for the worlds.”

    Grabsch was the surprise winner of the gold medal in Varese last year, beating Candaian Svein Tuft by 42.79 seconds and American champion Dave Zabristie by 55.27 seconds. He has done a lot of riding for Columbia in recent days but says that he feels he has done things in the right way. “I am happy, things are not so bad. I am not that tired and so I m very optimistic,” he said.

    Grabsch was only 11th in the Vuelta prologue in Assen, but then improved to third in the longer Valencia test. Both of those were won by Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), who chose to exit the Vuelta several days ago. The big Swiss rider is sure to be a major rival in Mendrisio, yet Grabsch feels he has made a good decision to persist longer with the Spanish Tour rather than follow others’ example.

    “Each person has their own ideal preparation,” he said. “I did it two years ago [retire at the same point from the Vuelta] and I was not so bad. Anyway, I need some racing and it is only one week at home. For me that is the best preparation.”

    Olympic time trial champion Cancellara missed the chance to defend his world title last season. This time around, he’s back and he wants to net the Elite TT rainbow jersey for the third time.

    “I think he’s the main rival,” said Grabsch. “He, Wiggins and me should be there [fighting it out]. I will try to win again but if...

  • Belgian Worlds selection complete

    The Belgian team poses
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 10:01 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    De Waele rounds out nine-man roster

    Belgian national coach Carlo Bomans has named the ninth rider to compete in the World Championships road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland, next week. Rounding out the nine-man team headed by Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen will be Bert De Waele, a Flemish rider of team Landbouwkrediet.

    "We need a team and riders that can be present in the finale of the race," explained Bomans to La Dernière Heure. "Some solid teammates able to accompany Philippe Gilbert as long as possible. The circuit in Mendrisio is difficult, with two climbs. But it is short, too, and time for recovery will be reduced. We will even have to be very attentive as to what the riders eat and drink."

    De Waeele was one of six riders that remained in contention for the final spot on the Worlds road race team. Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Serge Pauwels, Johan Vansummeren and Jurgen Van den Broeck did not make the cut and are now on the reserve list, though Devolder has ruled out any participation because of his initial non-selection.

    De Waele showed his good form on Wednesday when he finished fourth in the GP Wallonnie, and can look back on a stage victory in the Tour of Belgium in May. Coach Bomans explained that Devolder's recent lack of results was the reason he left him at home.

    "I have a lot of respect for his two victories of the Ronde van Vlaanderen, but it's not because you win the Ronde that you can come to the Worlds in return," he told Sporza. "The Ronde is in April, the Worlds are in September. Many people agree with me on that reasoning. It's a pity for him, but he just didn't show anything."

    The final Belgian roster for the Worlds road race will be: Philippe Gilbert, Tom Boonen, Francis De Greef, Bert De Waele, Kevin De Weert, Maxime Monfort, Nick Nuyens, Greg Van Avermaet and Maarten Wijnants.


  • Anthony Roux: France's next big thing?

    Stage winner Anthony Roux (Française des Jeux) on the podium
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 11:14 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Grand Tour rookie scores biggest career victory

    Anthony Roux pulled off a great show on Wednesday at the Vuelta a España, winning the stage by a mere second over a charging field of sprinters. The Française des Jeux rider had spent a full day in five-man breakaway which fell apart in the final kilometres of the stage.

    It was the biggest victory in the career of the Grand Tour rookie, but what was even more impressive was the way in which the 22-year-old achieved it.

    Roux joined an escape group early in the stage, which included Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Francisco José Martínez (Andalucía-Cajasur) and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Slipstream), all riders older and more experienced than him. In the final kilometres, with the bunch ready to pounce, Roux was the only rider able to follow Maaskant's solo move with three kilometres to go.  The Frenchman then dropped Maaskant in the last 300 metres.

    "At first, I thought about letting it come down to a sprint between Maaskant and myself. But then I saw the peloton come back behind us and just pulled through. The last 500 metres were very, very hard," Roux told reporters in the finish.

    Initially, the young gun from Verdun was sent to his first Grand Tour just to gain experience and stamina, but Roux has exceeded his team's expectations . "He has an impressive motor," Française des Jeux, directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud told L'Equipe. "We don't call him 'The Machine' for nothing. He won with his legs, but also with his head, like a pro that has ten years of experience. His control [of the race finale] just makes me speechless. The way in which he went for the win after all the efforts during the day was just incredible."

    Roux, who also scored a third placing at the French national champiosnhips this year, was of course very happy at the finish, but talked like he still had many more aims for the years to come. "I was calm in the last...

  • Vacansoleil get financial boost for 2010

    Stage 6 winner Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 11:48 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Sponsor announces 1 million euro budget increase at Vuelta a España

    Dutch Pro Continental team Vacansoleil will see its budget increased by one million euros in 2010. The announcement was made by the CEO of the team's sponsor Wim Backers as he visited the team at the Vuelta a España this week.  He also indicated the company's intention to remain involved with the team in future seasons.

    "In 2010, the budget will grow by one million to 5.5 million euros. And each year we add something extra, too," said Backers, according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. "It's amazing to see how the team has performed, not only here [at the Vuelta], but throughout the year."

    With 13 victories this season Vacansoleil's debut season has been deemed a success by its main sponsor. Backers said that Vacansoleil, who facilitate camping holidays across Europe, was pleased with its decision to back the team this year, in spite of initial advice that had warned against the investment.

    "When you see what a great atmosphere has been created in the team, I feel very emotionally involved. I notice also that tourists appreciate their efforts too. Of course, we had heard from various quarters that it is not smart to get into [sponsorship of] cycling, but I'm glad we did."

    The security of the renewed investment will be welcome news for the team who have stated their intention to move from Pro Continental to ProTour status by 2012. Their participation in this year's Vuelta a España is part of a three-year plan to make the step-up to join the top level teams.

    Vacansoleil have have been a strong presence throughout this year's Vuelta. Ever present in breakaways throughout the race, the team's persistence was rewarded by their Slovenian sprinter Borut Bozic, who claimed victory on the Vuelta's sixth stage into Xativa. In addition to Bozic's win, Johnny Hoogerland, who was this week

  • Pollack and Cronjäger suspended

    Olaf Pollack (T-Mobile)
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 12:25 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Germans provisionally suspended after positive tests

    Olaf Pollack and Markus Cronjäger have been provisionally suspended by the German Cycling Federation (BDR) after returning positive doping controls. Both riders have tested positive for as yet un-named substances in separate controls carried out in July.

    Pollack, 35, tested positive in an out-of-competition test on July 6. The former Gerolsteiner and T-Mobile professional, who wore the pink leader's jersey at the Giro d'Italia in 2006, has been racing this year as an elite amateur. The BDR said that Pollack had requested a counter analysis, the results of which have not yet been released.

    Pollack rode for Team Gerolsteiner from 2000 to 2004, before joining T-Mobile Team for two years. He then rode for the Continental Professional teams Wiesenhof-Felt and Volksbank for one year each. He has also been active in track racing. Last year he finished third in the Madison at the Los Angeles round of the World Cup.

    Cronjäger tested positive after a control conducted at the Rund um den Odenwald on July 11. The 29-year-old, who has not ridden for a professional team, chose not to contest the finding of his A-sample and the BDR reported that the German Federation for Sport and Arbitration had commenced proceedings against the rider.

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  • Shimano outlines anti-doping policy

    Internally routed Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 wires make for a cleaner package.
    Article published:
    September 17, 2009, 15:44 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Teams involved in doping affairs could forfeit sponsorship

    Bicycle component manufacturer Shimano issued a public statement outlining a firm anti-doping policy on Thursday, making it one of the first product manufacturers to explicitly demand that its sponsored athletes race clean.

    The company, which also makes snowboarding and fishing equipment, singled out cycling in its "firm stand against doping in general and in the cycling sport in particular".

    Shimano said that it would require teams to show their anti-doping policy in advance for all future sponsorship negotiations.

    "All our contracts and sponsorship relations are made under the condition and in the belief that there is no doping involved in the particular team or with the individual athletes," the statement read.

    Shimano's policy outlines the immediate cessation of sponsorship for any team whose management is found to be involved in a doping affair. The termination would require the team to return all Shimano materials "or other contributions that have been supplied to the concerned team immediately" in such an instance.

    If a sponsored rider is involved in "any doping affair without the knowledge of the team management", Shimano will give the team a chance to explain and offer up a "future improvement and control plan". If a second doping incident occurs on the same team, Shimano said it would keep the option of terminating the sponsorship.

    Shimano sponsors several professional cycling teams, one of which is Euskaltel-Euskadi, which had two riders test positive and be suspended for suspected doping: Inigo Landaluze tested positive for EPO CERA in June, and Mikel Astarloza tested positive for EPO in the same month.

    The company also provides equipment for Francaise des Jeux, Rabobank, Columbia-HTC, Garmin-Slipstream, Xacobeo Galicia, Landboukrediet-Colnago and Skil-Shimano, as well as a number of mountain bike and BMX teams. It also has a partnership with the UCI to provide neutral support for championship...