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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Date published:
August 02, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Von Hoff's domination in Gippsland first fruits of decision to ride full-time

    'Man of' Steele Von Hoff (Genesys Wealth Advisers) was all smiles on the podium again in the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland.
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 6:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Genesys director Andrew Christie-Johnson expecting tougher racing ahead

    Five stage wins and overall victory were the rewards for another dominant Genesys performance in the National Road Series, this time at the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland. Steele Von Hoff was a stand-out for the team, proving almost unbeatable in the bunch-sprints. The 23-year-old recently completed his apprenticeship with a boiler maker and has since been focused full time on the road.

    Team director Andrew Christie-Johnson was not surprised with Von Hoff's stellar ride in Gippsland, but with the team riding so well together it was not all that unexpected.

    "We [Genesys] had good form and we’ve always had good form - all year. Coming into one of the bigger races of the year [Gippsland] you look at your riders and you think they’re going well but it’s hard to compare until you match them up with the other riders in the country and see just how successful you’ll be," Christie-Johnson told Cyclingnews.

    "We didn’t plan to win the Tour with Nathan Haas, that just fell in our lap, it was always about Steele. When you have someone like him [Von Hoff], a guy that’s super talented and super quick it’s a lot easier. When you’ve got a team that’s got confidence in a guy to perform it also becomes a lot easier."

    Genesys have come off overall wins in all three of the previous NRS races, with Nathan Haas [Mersey Valley and Canberra] and Pat Shaw [Toowoomba] getting the team's season off to the best possible start. Christie-Johnson however played down the team being a level above their competition.

    "There are some good teams - and some good riders out there. I think the problem is a lot of them seem to be riding as individuals," he said. "You’re never going to beat a team of well-drilled riders when you try and do it alone."

    That insight was perhaps most obvious with respect to New-Zealander Rico...

  • Rolland: The next step is to win the Tour

    Pierre Rolland (Europcar) did well enough to keep the best young rider's jersey
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 9:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Maillot Blanc winner continues impressive progression at Europcar

    Pierre Rolland was one of the revelations of this year's Tour de France, and the 24 year-old Frenchman is looking to the future with a certain dose of self-confidence. In a recent chat on Eurosport, he said that he now expects a lot more of himself.

    "To win a stage again, or do similar feats [to winning on Alpe d'Huez] should be a minimum. [To win] the polka-dot jersey and maybe even the yellow jersey... I'm not setting limits for myself. Those are definitely possibilities."

    The Frenchman however claims he won't chase all the leader's jerseys.

    "My goal remains GC," said Rolland. "The next stage is to win the Tour. Can I do it? It's still far too early to say."

    Rolland, who rides for the Europcar team, was 11th overall at 10:43 behind Cadel Evans in this year’s Tour de France. He lost time in the first week, notably on stage 7 to Chateauroux where a crash meant a 6:16 loss on GC, then on stage 17 to Pinerolo where he lost 37 seconds to Evans on the final descent.

    "I didn't take risks" he said. "I absolutely didn't want to crash. It was my decision [to lose time]." Without these two stages Rolland could in theory have finished as high as eigth in GC, ahead of two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso.

    The Frenchman was also bullish when asked whether compatriot and teammate Thomas Voeckler could have won the Tour.

    "Yes, he could have. If BMC hadn't ridden the day on the day to Saint-Flour and if Contador hadn't ridden so hard on the Télégraphe I think he would’ve certainly had a chance."

    Voeckler eventually finished a career-best fourth overall, but his result was part due to the loyal performance from his younger teammate. Rolland first showed his form on Luz-Ardiden and never looked back.

    "On the first [mountain top] finish at Luz...

  • Quick Step and Omega Pharma merger complicates Gilbert transfer saga

    2011 Clasica San Sebastian champion Philippe Gilbert flies the Belgian flag.
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 10:49 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Omega Pharma claims Gilbert still under contract for 2012

    Fresh uncertainty has been cast over Philippe Gilbert’s future following Monday’s announcement that Omega Pharma and Quick Step will join to form a single team in 2012.

    Gilbert has been heavily linked with a move away from Omega Pharma-Lotto at the end of the season, with BMC strongly tipped to land the Belgian champion. However, it is has been reported in the Belgian media that he still has a contract with the team’s management company BCC (Belgian Cycling Company) for 2012.

    Before Monday’s announcement, Gilbert was also considering an offer to ride for Quick Step next season. It is as yet unclear if BCC will manage the new Omega Pharma-Quick Step amalgamation. However Omega Pharma manager Geet Coeman is adamant that Gilbert remains under contract for next season and that the recent transfer speculation surrounding the rider was contingent on his current team leaving the sport.

    "Let's not forget that Gilbert is still under contract with us," Coeman told Het Laatse Nieuws. "Gilbert was a free agent if the team ceased to exist, but we are continuing."

    Gilbert’s manager Vincent Wathelet has refuted Omega Pharma’s contention that Gilbert is under contract for 2012, claiming that the agreement was with the soon to be defunct Omega Pharma-Lotto team. Sporza reports that BCC will seek a buy-out payment of between 1 and 1.5 million Euro before allowing Gilbert to leave for another squad.

    “It is a legal struggle and...

  • Cavendish reveals he has decided his team for 2012

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) leads the points classification.
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 11:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Manxman refuses to name the team but is 100% happy with his decision

    Mark Cavendish has revealed that he has decided which team he will ride for in 2012 but has refused say the name of the team.

    The HTC-Highroad sprinter was speaking on BBC Radio 5 and after poignantly talking about his success at the Tour de France and his love for the sport, he was asked about his future plans by a listener. He initially refused to go into details but then revealed he had decided his future on Saturday while in Eindhoven for a criterium.

    “There’s been lots of rumours about which team I’ve been joining for three years but I can’t really say,” Cavendish said.

    “There are a lot of teams that have a nationalist sponsor. Sky is a British team and so they want a lot of British riders. Cofidis is a French team and so wants French riders. I’m in a lucky position because I don’t get a contract because of my nationality but because I perform well on the bike. It’s irrelevant the nationality of the team I go to."

    Cavendish insisted his decision is not only about the financial aspect of the offers he has received.

    "I have a value and so I’ll get the same money whichever team I go to," he said. "I want to perform be happy and perform. The day I stop being happy doing this sport is the day I retire. I want to go the best place which will help me win and that might be the place where I am now. But I can’t say anything just yet."

    100% happy with the decision

    When pushed further by presenter Anita Anand, Cavendish revealed that he actually decided his future on Saturday, while in Eindhoven.

    “You’ve got an exclusive because I decided on Saturday,” Cavendish revealed.

    Asked the circumstances, he said: “I was in a hotel in Eindhoven. I was sat on the bed with my...

  • Menchov aiming for third Vuelta victory

    Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) crosses the finish line in Nevegal with a time good enough for 7th place.
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 12:40 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Russian to stay with Geox-TMC in 2012

    Denis Menchov has passed very much under the radar this season. Affected by allergies and physical problems at the Giro d’Italia, the Russian rarely featured in that race’s key moments as he finished a slightly disappointing eighth overall. Sidelined from the Tour de France for the first time in a decade as a result of his Geox-TMC team’s failure to get an invite, he instead rode the Tour of Austria, finishing fifth overall. He now looks towards the Vuelta a España, which starts in less than three weeks.

    Twice a winner of Spain’s national tour, Menchov has his sights set on a third victory. Speaking to El Diario de Navarra, the local paper in the northern Spanish province where he has long resided, the 33-year-old Russian said his 33rd place at the San Sebatián Classic last weekend showed that his “form is good. I’ve been training well and I think that riding the Tour of Burgos will be sufficient to carry me through to the Vuelta in good shape.”

    Winner of the Vuelta in 2005 and 2007 when he was riding with Rabobank, Menchov said that he is fired up to contend for the title again. “I’ve got a real hunger for the bike and a real desire to win the Vuelta. The route looks hard to me, very demanding considering the late stage of the season when it takes place. But you have to go there with the right attitude. I know the climbs and key points well, and I know how you need to ride there.”

    Asked if Igor Antón is likely to be his main rival for the title, Menchov replied: “Igor has been riding well and there’s no doubt he’s well prepared, but for one reason or another he’s never...

  • Mosquera: Staying quiet has been the wrong tactic

    Ezequiel Mosquera in his new Vacansoleil jersey
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 12:45 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard admits he is unlikely to ride Vuelta

    Ten months on from the announcement that he had tested positive for hydroxyethyl starch, as he rode to second place in the 2010 Vuelta a España, Ezequiel Mosquera has broken his silence to rail at the length of time it is taking to resolve his case. He has also admitted that it has been a mistake for him to stay silent for so long given some of the things that have been said and written about him during that period.

    Nominally a Vacansoleil-DCM rider but still to make his debut for the Dutch team that signed him on a two-year contract after last year’s Vuelta showing, Mosquera insists that he has done no wrong. He is currently listed among the team’s pre-selection for the start of the Vuelta later this month, but is unlikely to be able to ride as a decision on his case is still pending with the Spanish Cycling Federation.

    Speaking on television in his home region of Galicia in north-west Spain, Mosquera stated: “It’s been very difficult for me to stay silent because there have been stories and headlines that have forced me into taking tranquillisers in order to be able to deal with them, not because of what they were saying, but because they were totally false.”

    He continued: “I’ve also said that my second place at the Vuelta a España was achieved on my own merit and I will keep saying that.”

    The 35-year-old Spaniard described the decision for him to stay quiet until the case had been resolved as “the wrong tactic.”

    He explained: “I’ve not been able to defend myself, but we thought when we made the decision it was the best thing to...

  • Chavanel extends with Quick Step until 2013

    Sylvain Chavanel flew the colours of the French champion in the breakaway
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 14:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French national champion to stay with Belgian team

    The Quick Step team has confirmed that Sylvain Chavanel will stay with the team in 2012 and 2013, putting and end to speculation that the French national champion was considering a return to a French team.

    The L’Equipe newspaper suggested on Tuesday that the 32 year-old classics rider was open to offers, quoting Chavanel as saying Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun, Ag2r, Europcar, Astana and Katusha were all interested in him. However, he quickly denied he had any plans to change teams and Quick Step issued a statement confirming that Chavanel will be staying with the team until 2013 after reaching a new deal with current Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere.

    On Monday Quick Step announced a new partnership with Omega Pharma to create a new team for 2012, although few details of which management company will run the team and the team’s roster have been confirmed.

    “I’m very happy with the agreement we reached. I get on well on this team and with them these past few years I’ve made a lot of progress, obtaining some of my most prestigious victories,” Chavanel said in the Quick Step statement.

    "My thanks go to Lefevere and the team for the faith they’ve always placed in me. I was also very impressed with the important projects the team is working on for the future and I like the idea of being a part of things with an important role to play. My future objective is to improve even further and to try and succeed in a great classic with this team. This year I’ve proven that I can do it.”

    Quick Step has already secured Tom Boonen as one of its team leaders and Lefevere was happy to...

  • Video: Lofkvist ready to ride the Vuelta with Wiggins

    Thomas Lövkvist (Sky)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2011, 16:33 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Coming back after tough Giro d'Italia

    Thomas Löfkvist has confirmed that he will ride the Vuelta Espana in support of Team Sky captain Bradley Wiggins, but also hopes to have some chances to ride for himself after a disappointing first part of the season.

    The classy 27-year-old Swede was the leader at Team Sky at the Giro d’Italia after he wore the leader's maglia rosa for a day in 2009. This year he struggled with illness and fatigue in the mountains and eventually finished 21st, 43:51 behind winner Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

    Löfkvist was not part of the Team Sky Tour de France line-up but has been training hard for the Vuelta that begins on August 20 in Benidorm.

    “I’m riding the Vuelta, which starts in a couple of weeks. My programme just got changed and we’ll go there with Wiggins for GC. I think it’ll be a nice race. We try to get the best out of the team,” Löfkvist told Cyclingnews in this video.

    “I’ll probably have the possibility in a couple of stages to do something for myself. I haven’t seen the details of the race route. It might actually be better to not see a climb like the Angliru before riding it…”

    World championships

    Following the Vuelta, Löfkvist hopes to ride the world championships. He reveals that Sweden looks set to only qualify for one place in the elite men’s road race, but he hopes to be selected, believing it is possible to take the race to the sprinters on the largely flat circuit.

    “It’s close to Sweden and there will be a lot of Swedish fans there. It’d be nice to do it. Even if it’s flat there will be a...