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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Date published:
August 21, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • UCI points system is ridiculous, says Roche

    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 11:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Irishman's points will count for Saxo Bank-TInkoff Bank, not Ag2r

    Nicolas Roche believes that it is unfair that his current Ag2r-La Mondiale team will accrue no benefit from the UCI points he earns in their colours this season. The Irishman will ride for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank next year, and his haul of points will be added to his new squad’s overall tally as it seeks to retain ProTeam status into 2013.

    Roche paid tribute to his Ag2r team for allowing him to compete in the Vuelta a España even though he has already confirmed that he will not ride for the team next season. Last year, Garmin opted not to select world champion Thor Hushovd for the Vuelta due to his imminent departure to BMC.

    "I want to thank the team for letting me do the race even though I’m leaving at the end of the year," Roche said, according to Biciciclismo. "The current points system is a disgrace. I’m riding for Ag2r but my points won’t count for them, it’s ridiculous.

    "I hope I can fight for the general classification and get a good final result in Madrid for my team."

    Ag2r-La Mondiale has been active in the transfer market as it seeks to remain racing at WorldTour level in 2013. Vincent Lavenu’s team has already signed Carlos Alberto Betancur, Davide Appollonio, Steve Chainel, Yauheni Hutarovich and Samuel Dumoulin, and is expected to confirm the arrival of Domenico Pozzovivo later this week.

    Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank is also in need of UCI points to bolster its ProTeam application. Due to his recently-expired doping suspension, any points earned by Alberto Contador in 2012 and 2013

  • No Worlds time trial for Wiggins

    Bradley Wiggins on the podium with the gold medal that saw him become Great Britain's most successful Olympian
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 11:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion to contest only road race in Limburg

    Tour de France winner and Olympic time trial champion Bradley Wiggins has decided to skip the world championships time trial event in Limburg in mid-September. Speaking at the "Ride with Brad" sportive in his home county of Lancashire on Sunday morning, the Team Sky rider said that he will skip the race against the clock because of his full schedule, and in view of his participation on the Tour of Britain, starting September 9.

    "I won't be doing the time trial," the Briton told The Guardian. "I have a lot of commitments now in the next six weeks and I am probably not going to be able to give the time to the training that is required to win the gold there.

    However, Wiggins plans to compete in the road race for the British team. "I will be there in a supporting role to help the guys in the road race and it is the same with the Tour of Britain. A lot of guys have ridden for me all year and rather than just stop and say I have won what I wanted to win and go on holiday for six months and get fat, I thought it would be nice to go back there and help the team in those races," the 32-year-old explained.

    Having won the Olympic time trial, Wiggins felt easy about missing out on another opportunity. "For me (it is) not big at all, I am the Olympic champion. That is the one everyone wants to win," he said with a smile.


  • Contador ready for Valdezcaray finish

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) threw in multiple attacks on the final climb
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 12:39 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard expects it will be difficult to open gaps

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) says his morale is boosted after his seven separate attacks on the slopes of the Alto de Arrate on stage 3 of the Vuelta a España saw just four riders fight it out for the victory – Contador, Chris Froome (Team Sky), Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) and the eventual winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). So can he do the same on Tuesday on the summit of Valdezcaray, the race’s second mountain-top finish?

    "It’s not such a hard climb," Contador speculates, "maybe we’ll get a group of ten riders or more at the summit. And if it’s windy then it will be very difficult to open up a gap."

    Fortunately for those hoping for a repeat of Monday’s spectacular attacks by Contador, the weather is forecast to be very warm (low thirties at the foot of the climb) but with only the slightest of winds, 7km/h, at the summit.

    What cannot change come rain or shine is the climb itself: although it is 13.4 kilometres long, nearly three times the length of Arrate on Monday, it is by no means as hard, with an average gradient of just 5.2% and maximum gradients of 9%. Tuesday’s other big challenge, the first category climb of Orduña, is over 100 kilometres from the finish and is unlikely to have much effect on the final outcome of the stage.

    Either way, Contador says he is extremely pleased with how Arrate worked out for him, with one newspaper in Spain headlining their cycling reports with the simple phrase: "Contador is back."

    "I had good feelings, and even if the differences were small, you have to remember there wasn’t any other climb beforehand and that means the people felt much fresher than usual.


  • Time loss was logical, says Van Den Broeck

    Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto - Belisol)
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 13:08 BST
    Cycling News

    De Gendt loses ground at Vuelta a España

    The battle for overall honours at the Vuelta a España remains delicately poised after a testing afternoon in the Basque Country on Monday, but Belgian pair Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) and Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) were among those to record significant losses on the final climb of the Alto de Arrate at the end of stage three.

    Van Den Broeck finished fourth overall at July’s Tour de France but entered the Vuelta insistent that he had no general classification aspirations. The Lotto Belisol climber struggled with the changes in tempo imposed by Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) in the finale on Monday, and he came home over three minutes down in 70th place.

    "After the Tour, I enjoyed life for a few weeks, so this is logical," Van Den Broeck told Het Nieuwsblad. The Belgian was said to have endured a rather Spartan regime in May and June as he built up to the Tour de France, including lengthy spells at altitude.

    "It would be sad if I were flying now and not at the Tour," Van Den Broeck mused. "Then I might as well not have done those months of preparation for the Tour."

    Van Den Broeck is hopeful that he can find the form to win a stage later in the Vuelta but noted that, in any case, the race would serve as a useful base ahead of next season.

    "This really comes as no surprise. I didn’t come here for the overall standings, but so that my condition can grow again before the winter," he said. "Meanwhile, aiming for a stage win was the goal and that remains the case."

    His fellow countryman Thomas De...

  • Garmin-Sharp rich in USA Pro Challenge spoils after opening stage

    Peter Stetina leads teammate Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) up the final climb.
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 14:03 BST
    Peter Hymas

    US ProTeam on the offensive on home turf

    The podium ceremonies at the conclusion of the USA Pro Challenge's opening stage from Durango to Telluride were dominated by riders from US ProTeam Garmin-Sharp, eager to stamp their authority on one of their country's premier stage races which takes place in their backyard of Colorado.

    Tyler Farrar won the field sprint finale from a 57-rider peloton in Telluride which not only ended a more than year-long winless drought, but also put the 28-year-old American sprinter in the leader's and the sprint classification jersey.

    Farrar wasn't Garmin-Sharp's plan A for the day, however, as four teammates, Tom Danielson, Peter Stetina, Lachlan Morton and David Zabriskie, attacked early in the 202.1km stage as part of a massive 22-rider escape. While Garmin's Danielson and Christian Vande Velde talked at Saturday's pre-race press conference about only seconds being at stake until the final two stages, the US ProTeam opted for a scorched Earth campaign to take the bull by the horns on the first day of racing.

    Danielson, Stetina and Zabriskie continued their campaign of aggression in the whittled-down lead group, along with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Andrew Bajadali (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Serghei Tvetcov (Team Exergy) and Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (EPM-Une).

    Over the top of the day's final climb, with just 15km remaining, Stetina and Danielson were the final survivors of the break and their bid to steal victory on the day came up just short in the outskirts of Telluride. Tom Danielson, however, donned the...

  • Endura Racing makes plans after departure of Tiernan-Locke

    Jonathan Tiernen-Locke (Endura Racing) secured his second big win in a week
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 15:44 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Merger with ProContinental team possible

    Endura Racing has confirmed that its star rider of 2012, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, will not ride for the team next year. The climber has been courted by a number of teams since a spring campaign that reaped wins in Tour Méditerranéen and Haut Var, with Sky and Garmin leading the charge to sign him.

    Tiernan-Locke trained with Sky this spring and while he will compete for Endura at next month’s Tour of Britain, it looks as though Sky will be his likely destination for 2013.

    “I’ve not talked to John for a while but Sky, Garmin, other teams were interested but I’ve not received confirmation that he’s signed anything yet,” Endura’s Brian Smith told Cyclingnews.

    “He will not be with Endura for next year though. He’ll be with a WorldTour team. What I know for a fact is that he has signed a letter of intent of signing with Team Sky.”

    Team Sky has a strict policy on discussing riders under contract with other teams and refrained to comment on Tiernan-Locke when approached by Cyclingnews, but it’s understood that although Tiernan-Locke will leave Endura, the remnants of the team will form part of two merging squads in the ProContinental ranks.

    Endura had hoped to gain ProContinental status for next year but having failed to secure the required sponsorship funds, looks set to merge with an existing ProContinental team. Although confirmation of the team was not given to Cyclingnews, it is understood that the secondary team took part in its first Grand Tour earlier this spring.

    Endura’s director Jim McFarlane confirmed that negotiations between his team and the prospective merger partners were advancing positively, although a signed contract had not been reached yet.

  • Valverde accuses Sky of provoking Vuelta crash

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won stage 3 of the Vuelta
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 18:18 BST
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spaniard demands apology after heading to Sky bus

    A furious Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) stormed to the Team Sky bus to demand an explanation after today’s Vuelta finish. The British squad attacked just as Valverde fell with around 20 kilometres to go until the final climb.

    Despite a furious pursuit of the Sky-led echelon, Valverde finished 39th, losing 55 seconds to top favourites Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), as well as the overall lead.

    Valverde told reporters that he believed his crash had been provoked by a Sky rider and that the peloton attacked just as the the crash happened. Sky later defended themselves, saying they had not known that Valverde had fallen and that it was in no way intentional.

    Before going to the Sky bus, Valverde said “Sky formed an echelon and they’re perfectly within their rights to do that. I’m not cross that I lost the lead because of this, but because there was no respect.”

    Followed by television cameras and reporters, Valverde weaved his way behind the line to the Sky bus, got off his bike and although visibly angry, he politely demanded an answer from Colombians Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran, currently engaged in their warm-down.

    A member of Team Sky’s management then attempted to convince Valverde that the crash had not been intentional under any circumstances.

    Speaking to the press, Team Sky director Nicolas Portal - a former teammate of Alejandro Valverde at Caisse d’Epargne - was clearly upset at the situation and said in no way had they tried to take advantage of the crash.

    "I’m really, really unhappy at what happened, these people are my friends," Portal said. "Everybody was very nervous, Movistar, Katusha and I told my riders...

  • Summerhill making the most of call-up to UnitedHealthcare

    Danny Summerhill (Garmin-Chipotle) on his last lap
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 19:52 BST
    Pat Malach

    From the couch to Colorado and beyond

    Colorado native Danny Summerhill was sitting on a couch in Denver wondering what he was going to do with the rest of his season after his European campaign with Slipstream's Chipotle Development Team ended and he had no more races on his schedule.

    Then the phone rang. On the other end of the line, UnitedHealthcare manager and team director Mike Tamayo was offering the 23-year-old from Englewood a guest-rider spot for the USA Pro Challenge, his home race and one of the biggest in the country.

    "It doesn't get more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants than that," Summerhill said before the start of stage 1 in Durango. "I was just lucky enough to be close to the phone and hear the question, 'Do you want to ride Colorado?' So, of course, who wouldn't?"

    UnitedHealthcare rider Philip Deignan was originally scheduled to race with the team in Colorado, but he had to return to his home country of Ireland because of an emergency in the family. Tamayo decided that Summerhill, who raced the USA Pro Challenge for Garmin-Cervelo last year as a stagiaire, was the best fill-in available for Colorado and through the rest of the 2012 season.

    "Danny is an all-rounder who has experience racing in Europe," Tamayo said. "We're hoping he can be instrumental as part of our lead out, and he's also got good climbing legs. He'll be getting an opportunity to race with us at one of the highest levels in the United States. We focus on fostering the future talent of professional bike racing, and we are happy Danny could join us."

    "Happy" could also describe Summerhill's feelings about the opportunity, although he seemed to draw a blank when asked.

    "Words don't describe it," he said. "I think last year will probably take the cake for the most special, incredible feeling yet. But it's going to...