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Second Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 2, 2010

Date published:
September 02, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Bos back at Rabobank

    Theo Bos (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 0:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Cervélo sprinter finds a ride in a familiar setting

    Following the announcement that the Cervélo TestTeam would disband at season's end, Theo Bos has returned to Rabobank, where he began his career on the road at the beginning of 2009.

    The 27-year-old has signed a two-year contract to ride for the Dutch ProTour team, having spent this season riding for Cervélo, to which he moved at the end of 2009.

    He quickly rose to prominence on the road at the Prémio de Abertura in February last year, which he won whilst riding for the Rabobank Continental squad. Thanks to strong performances during the season he was offered the Cervélo contract for 2010.

    This season he has continued to develop well on the road, winning the Clásica de Almería ahead of Mark Cavendish and Rabobank sprinter Graeme Brown, in addition to stage wins at the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia and the Vuelta Castilla y Leon.

    The demise of the Cervélo squad left Bos' agent Orlando van den Bosch scrambling to secure his charge a ride for 2011, although he said last week that he had received offers from several teams. While his current teammates Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier and Brett Lancaster have made their way to Garmin (to be Garmin-Cervélo next year), Bos opted for the security of a familiar setting.

    And with the impending retirement of Oscar Freire and Graeme Brown entering the final phase of his career, Bos will likely be a protected sprinter at Rabobank, which has lost one of its biggest stars, Denis Menchov, to Team Geox in recent weeks.

  • Sanchez changes tack to fill Valverde's shoes

    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) dons the Basque hat awarded to the winner of the Clasica San Sebastian.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 7:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Clasica San Sebastian winner also has Worlds in sight

    While Carlos Sastre started the Vuelta a España having done only 51 days of racing this season (including the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France), his compatriot Luis Leon Sanchez already had 70 days under his belt when the race kicked off from Seville last Saturday.

    The Caisse d'Epargne rider started the year in Australia with a stage win at the Santos Tour Down Under in January. He compiled six wins as he added the individual time trial of the Volta ao Algarve in February, stage one and the overall classification of the Circuit de la Sarthe in May, the time trial at the Spanish national championship and the Clasica San Sebastian at the end of July to his palmares.

    He also finished second behind Alberto Contador in Paris-Nice - a race he won last year - took fourth at the Volta Catalunya and 11th overall at the Tour de France where he narrowly missed claiming stage nine in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.

    "I've had a long season but I want to keep racing till the end with the world championships for Spain," said Sanchez. Until mid-August, he was undecided about whether he wanted to add the Vuelta to his race program, eventually accepting to fill the spot left by defending champion Alejandro Valverde, who is currently serving a suspension.

    "We haven't totally built the team around him," said Caisse d'Epargne directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois. "We have several captains here with [Giro d'Italia runner up David] Arroyo, Ruben Plaza..." Marzio Bruseghin is another potential podium finisher considering the six uphill finishes where he should do well.

    "Luis Leon isn't a selfish rider," Ledanois added. "If he has to ride for somebody else, he'll do it. We'll wait for some difficult stages to figure out what our goals can be on general classification." Towards the end of stage five to Lorca, Sanchez enjoyed entering the community (province) of Murcia where he hails from.

    And the 26-year-old from Mula hasn't yet confirmed...

  • Gilbert to get new contract if he wins the world title

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma - Lotto) remains in the leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 10:23 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Omega Pharma-Lotto securing strong team for 2011

    Philippe Gilbert's contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto will be modified “instantly” if he should win the world championship, the team has said. The Belgian ProTour team does not want to risk losing a second world champion, after Cadel Evans left the team last year after taking the title in Mendrisio.

    Gilbert is currently leading the Vuelta a Espana, going into his third day in the leader's red jersey. The Belgian has traditionally performed best late in the season, and is one of the favourites to win the Worlds title in Melbourne the beginning of October.

    "Gilbert's contract was extended at the end of April,” team manager Marc Sergeant told Het Laatste Nieuws. "We have now taken a possible world championship victory into consideration. The contract will be corrected immediately if he takes the rainbow jersey."

    Sergeant assumed that the 28-year-old will be the Belgian captain at the worlds, calling him “the best rider of the moment.” National coach Carlo Bomans is scheduled to announce the team next Tuesday. In the absence of sprinter Tom Boonen, who is still suffering from knee problems, Gilbert is expected to be the team's sole leader.

    Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2011

    Gilbert will have a strong Omega Pharma-Lotto team to support him in 2011, with a number of newcomers. 35-year-old veteran Mario Aerts has re-signed with the team for another two years. The Belgian has been a professional since 1996, and has ridden for the team since 2005. Aerts is also expected to be named to the Worlds team in support of Gilbert.

    The biggest change for the Omega Pharma-Lotto team team will be the arrival of Andre Greipel. The German has so far won 18 races for HTC-Columbia, significantly more wins than any other rider in the peloton this year.

    Greipel will be supported at Omega Pharma-Lotto by Australia's Adam Hansen, who this year won the Ster Elektrotoer, with...

  • Intestinal virus knocks Eisel out of Vuelta and possibly Worlds

    Will Bernhard Eisel be Mark Cavendish's new leadout man?
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 12:58 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Austrian won't ride in Melbourne without adequate preparation

    The intestinal virus that forced Bernhard Eisel of HTC-Columbia out of the Vuelta a España may also take him out of this year's world championships. The Austrian rider said that it might now be too difficult to get into shape for the road race in Melbourne the beginning of October.

    “Going to the Worlds without racing, that doesn't make any sense,” Eisel told the APA news agency.

    Eisel, 29, abandoned early in the fourth stage of the Vuelta, suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. Now home again in Graz, Austria, he said that “in the meantime I feel a lot better. But it is difficult to cope with mentally, that the Worlds are now so far away for me.”

    The Austrian, who has recently renewed his contract with HTC-Columbia for two more years, was at the Vuelta to help Mark Cavendish in the sprints. “My form was not bad and for sure we could have done well,” he said. But staying in the race “would have made everything worse.”

    Eisel's concern over riding the worlds with inadequate preparation is about letting down his national  team as much about himself. “It's difficult. Without good form, I won't go to the Worlds. I don't want to do that to myself, and especially not to the other riders,” he said.

    Peter Wrolich of Milram and Stefan Denifl of Cervelo TestTeam are the other two riders selected for Austria. The reserve rider is Milram's Thomas Rohregger.

    The only other possibility for Eisel to come into form would be to ride the Tour of Britain, which starts next week. However, HTC-Columbia has already filled its squad for that race with outher riders preparing for the world championships, and under UCI rules it is difficult for a rider to race while the event he pulled out off is still underway.

  • Riccò to make Vacansoleil debut at the Giro della Romagna

    Riccardo Riccò (Vacansoleil)
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 15:38 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Italian to lead his new team on Sunday in Italy

    Riccardo Riccò will make his debut with his new Vacansoleil squad, at the Giro della Romagna one-day race in Italy on Sunday. The 27-year-old ended his contract with the Ceramica-Flaminia squad last month in order to ink a two-year deal with the Dutch team.

    He will be joined by fellow Italians Matteo Carrara, Alberto Ongarato and Marco Marcato for the 211.7km-long circuit around the towns of Lugo and Faenza Also on the roster will be Uzbek Sergey Lagutin, Slovenian Borut Bozic and Pole and Michal Golas.

    Riccò made his return to the sport this March with Ceramica-Flaminia following his 20-month ban for doping during the 2008 Tour de France. He was one of the first riders to test positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA, a third generation form of  Erythropoietin. Riccò won the Tour of Austria in July, despite suffering nasty injuries after hitting a motorbike. However he missed the Giro d'Italia after race director Angelo Zomegnan refused to invite the Ceramica Flaminia team.

    Vacansoleil will also field a team for the 44th GP Jef Scherens on Sunday, but will be without the services of 2008 winner Wouter Mol, who is out sick. Belgians Frederik Veuchelen, Gorik Gardeyn and Björn Leukemans will join their Dutch teammates Johnny Hoogerland, Rob Ruygh, Joost van Leijen and Lieuwe Westra along with Dane Martin Mortensen in the hilly 183km event.

  • On the start line in Caravaca de Cruz

    Race leader Philippe Gilbert meets with his former boss from FDJ Marc Madiot.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 15:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Photos from stage 6 of the Vuelta a España

    While yesterday's stage was a day for the sprinters, with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) timing his finishing kick to perfection to top Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) in Lorca, today's 151km sixth stage from Caravaca de Cruz to Murcia contains a sting in the tail which should rule out the peloton's fast men.

    While the profile of the stage is predominantly flat, the category two Alto de la Cresta del Gallo ascent looms with 17.4km to the finish. The tricky, poorly surfaced descent is just as much a challenge as the 7km climb, and last year Simon Gerrans won from a three-man break.

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) predicted this morning that a 50-rider front group would fight it out for stage honours, will that prove to be the correct scenario?

    In the meantime, here is a gallery of photos from the start line in Caravaca de Cruz where the riders look decidedly relaxed under the brilliant Spanish sun.

  • Team Sky working to strengthen squad for 2011

    Team Sky could only manage fifth.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 17:33 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Brailsford refuses to reveal names, but Cancellara could be a target

    Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford has admitted that the British team is looking to strengthen its line-up for 2011 but has refused to reveal the names any of the riders he is currently negotiating with.

    "We're doing our business behind closed doors this year. Last year there was a lot of speculation about which riders we were going to sign and it became counter-productive," Brailsford told Cyclingnews.

    "People shouldn't think we're not in the market for good riders. We are. But we're not going to announce things until we're ready to do it."

    Talented British time trialist Alex Dowsett, who rode with the Trek-Livestrong Under 23 team this year, has been named a possible neo-pro signing for Team Sky while Caisse d'Epargne's Rigoberto Uran and Vasili Kiryienka have also been linked to the team.

    Cancellara and Downing

    Brailsford refused to confirm if they will join Team Sky for 2011 but admitted he would be interested in signing Fabian Cancellara if the time trial world champion were to become available. He also confirmed that Russell Downing will be offered a new contract with the team after a successful 2010 season.

    Team Sky has 26 riders on its roster this year, five of which have one-year contracts.

    "Nobody can say that Russell Downing doesn't deserve another year with Team Sky. He's had a great season, won four races and has done everything we've asked of him," Brailsford said.

    "Cancellara is under contract for another season with Bjarne Riis but if he became available for some reason, of course we'd be interested. But so would most other teams, because he's such a great rider.

    "All you'll get me to say is that things are progressing well for us. We've identified the riders who we think will strengthen the team for 2011. We're working on signing riders that will immediately be competitive at a ProTour level in 2011 and we're also working on riders for the...

  • Thomas withdraws from Great Britain's world championship team

    Best young rider Geraint Thomas (Sky Professional Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    September 02, 2010, 18:49 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Croatia names three-rider team for Melbourne

    British national road race champion Geraint Thomas has withdrawn from the Great Britain team for the road world championships in Melbourne due to tiredness after an intense season of racing with Team Sky. He finished second behind Thor Hushovd on stage three of the Tour de France that covered the cobbles used in Paris-Roubaix, and wore the best young rider's white jersey for four days.

    The 24-year-old Welshman was named as one of two riders to support Mark Cavendish's bid for the world title but confirmed he will no longer participate because he is still feeling the effects of the Tour de France.

    "I'm not going to be riding because I haven't felt too good since the Tour. I had a bit of down time and then at Eneco I was struggling to get back into it," he told the Press Association

    "I decided to just pull out because I don't think I'll be 100 percent. I thought it would be better to step aside and let one of the other guys ride who are going to be more motivated and going a bit better."

    Thomas will take time to recuperate before riding for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in October. His participation in Melbourne clashed with the track events in Delhi, but now Thomas has added the individual pursuit to his programme, which also includes the road time trial and road race.

    His withdrawal from the world championships road race will impact on Cavendish's hopes of emulating Tommy Simpson - the only British male to previously be crowned world champion, having won the road race in 1965. British Cycling has yet to name Thomas's replacement in the road race team alongside Cavendish and Jeremy Hunt. Possible contenders include David Millar, who will already be in Australia to compete in the time trial world championship.

    Like Great Britain, Croatia will have a three-rider team in the men’s road race at the world championship in Melbourne and has named its teams.

    Robert Kiserovski, Hrvoje Miholjevic and Radoslav...