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Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Date published:
August 23, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Off-contract Cantwell racing for his future at Murray River Tour

    A strong year at home and overseas secured Jonathan Cantwell a spot on the UniSA team.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 7:04 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian Criterium Champion fears he may have missed his European chance

    Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) will be aiming to thwart the dominance of Genesys' Steele Von Hoff when he returns to the Tour of the Murray River this Sunday for the first time since he won the event back in 2009 with three stage wins and five second placings. However, the 29-year-old heads to the sixth event on Australia's National Road Series with his future under a cloud.

    This season has been comparatively lean for the Queensland-native who claimed a whopping 47 victories over the previous two years. And so asked what the highlight of 2011 has been, Cantwell doesn't hesitate.

    "January – it was huge," he told Cyclingnews having arrived back home to the Gold Coast days earlier from the United States.

    After what Cantwell frankly describes as a "bad Christmas" after the demise of Pegasus Sports in mid December, he went on to race on 23 occasions the following month, peaking with his victory at the Australian National Criterium Championships in Ballarat and then as part of the UniSA team for the first UCI World Tour race of the season, the Tour Down Under. Given the style of racing dominates the US racing scene where he spends the majority of his season, Cantwell gets to wear the green and gold bands "every weekend" which ultimately wouldn't happen if he was plying his trade elsewhere.

    Even then, doubt remained.

    "I actually didn't realise I was going to re-sign with V Australia until late February so it kind of took me a little while to get going again," he explained.

    Cantwell took on the

  • Astana announce three more signings

    Egor Silin (Katusha)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 8:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Guarnieri, Gavazzi and Silin to ride for Kazakh squad

    Astana has announced the addition of three new riders to their roster with Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD), Egor Silin (Katusha) and Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Cannondale) all set to join the team in 2012. According to the official release all three have signed two year deals.

    Guarnieri and Gavazzi add to the team’s sprinting stocks, particularly with the likely departure of team fast-man Allan Davis. Gavazzi is the higher profile of the two and comes to Astana after a successful apprenticeship with Lampre-ISD. The 27-year-old sprinter has won seven races in his career and boasts two stage victories at the prestigious GP al Pais Vasco.

    The team has also bolstered its climbing stocks with the signing of Silin. At just 23 years of age Silin has shown immense talent in the last few years. A stage win in the ‘Baby Giro’ in 2009 as well as the bronze medal in the Espoirs’ Worlds road race in the same year have many pundits predicting big things from the Russian.

    Despite a lean two seasons with Katusha, he comes to Astana with the pressure off, and the guidance of some of the best staff in the professional peloton.

    The trio adds to the signing of Andrey Kaschekin and Dimitriy Muravyev who were announced earlier in the month.

  • Voeckler returns to racing after Tour de France exploits

    Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) stays in yellow for another day
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 10:45 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman back in action at Tour du Poitou-Charentes

    Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) is keen to put his Tour de France exploits behind him as he returns to competitive action for the first time in over a month at the four-day Tour du Poitou-Charentes stage race which begins on Tuesday.

    The Frenchman has been much in-demand since finishing in a heroic fourth place overall in Paris, but although he was very active on the criterium circuit in the aftermath of the Tour, and also challenged a trotting horse at Les Sables-d'Olonne last week, he ultimately turned down more invitations that he accepted.

    “I refused 95 per cent of them,” Voeckler told L’Équipe. “I did seven criteriums in two weeks, and between that and all the transfers by car, I didn’t really notice the time passing. In the end, I wasn’t at home much, except for the last week.”

    Voeckler’s resolute defence of the maillot jaune in July saw him capture the attention of a French public which has been starved of Tour success in recent years. Nonetheless, he is determined to remain grounded in the face of his sudden enormous popularity.

    “If you haven’t seen me on the television since the Tour de France, it’s because that's how I wanted it,” Voeckler said. “My tranquillity is at stake. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Zidane either, but life isn’t about seeing 50 people a day who tell you ‘well done.’”

    The Tour de l’Ain was initially part of Voeckler’s August programme, but such was the level of his post-Tour fatigue that he delayed his return to racing until this week and the Tour du...

  • Vuelta to remember Xavi Tondo at Sierra Nevada

    Xavier Tondo (Movistar) on the podium to receive the final leader's jersey.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 12:31 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Movistar leader died three months ago today at mountain resort

    Today, as the Vuelta a España prepares for its first summit finish at Sierra Nevada, it will be three months exactly since Xavi Tondo died in tragic circumstances during an altitude training camp at the same resort. Tondo, sixth in last year’s Vuelta, would almost certainly have been one of the riders to watch on today’s stage, and it is fitting that the Vuelta’s red leader’s jersey will be on the shoulders of his Movistar teammate Pablo Lastras as Spain’s national tour heads up the mountain that towers above Granada.

    Back in late May, 32-year-old Tondo and his teammate Beñat Intxausti had just loaded their bikes and gear into a car in the underground car park at the complex in Pradallano where they were staying and were preparing to drive down for a day’s training around Granada when Tondo became trapped between the car and the automatic garage door. Intxausti went quickly to his friend’s assistance but, sadly, could do nothing to save him.

    Speaking to El Diario Vasco on Monday, Intxausti looked ahead to today’s stage, which finishes just metres from where Tondo died, and admitted, “It’s going to be a very hard day. I can still remember a lot of what happened and I expect that I will remember much more tomorrow. I prefer not to remember, but it is difficult not to.”

    He added: “It was the first day that we had taken the car to go down to Granada. We’d always done it on the bikes before.”

    Tondo, a laidback character who was one of the most popular members of the peloton, had spent most of his career riding...

  • Evans ninth in US Pro Cycling Challenge prologue

    Cadel Evans (BMC) in for the week and fresh of his Tour de France victory.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 13:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Tour de France winner cautious about racing at altitude

    Cadel Evans (BMC) was last off in the prologue time trial at the US Pro Cycling Challenge and despite a lack of real racing since his Tour de France victory and a celebratory trip to Australia, he managed to finish a solid ninth, just eight seconds down on stage winner Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad).

    Evans dived through the corners and pushed hard on the pedals on the atypical course but without taking any major risk.

    “It was a little bit of a tricky course because you’re starting downhill,” he said after his ride. “It wasn’t exactly my thing but it wasn’t too bad.”

    In a message on his website, Evans added: “High (leg) speed, altitude acclimatization and a few risks in the corners were the ingredients for success....I was lacking a neat balance of all three.”

    High altitude

    Evans spent several days training in Utah before the race but is concerned about racing at altitude.

    “I came from Australia. I missed out on recovery and training, so it wasn’t perfect for coming here but give me a couple of days and I might be able to go all out,” he said.

    The guys who rode (the Tour of) Utah have an enormous advantage. The adopting to altitude is probably the biggest thing. We’re only talking three, four percent, but we’re only going for eight or nine minutes, so two, three percent can make a difference in just the first kilometre or two."

    He added on his website: “Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be interesting to say the least. Oxygen debt in 9k is one thing. Oxygen debt over 160k high up is something else.....real mountains and even MORE altitude, Christian Vande Velde and Garmin are nicely positioned. We're not...

  • Pate earns Most Aggressive in hometown prologue at USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    HTC-Highroad rider Danny Pate says he taped up some of the vents on his helmet not so much to defend against the cold but rather to protect from sunburn.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 14:02 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    American says HTC-Highroad morale is still high

    Danny Pate (HTC-Highroad) secured the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Most Aggressive Rider Jersey after placing eleventh in the opening prologue on Monday. The Colorado Springs native was accustomed to the 8.2km parcours having grown up training on the same roads.

    "I've been looking at the course for the last 15 years, I think," Pate said. "I always chased cars down Colorado Boulevard with Mike Creed. We all used to ride about an hour a day; we'd ride to Manitou and motorpace back and then come to Chipotle, or something."

    "I knew all the roads quite a bit," he said. "I really don't ride Ridge Road very much - I stay away from there, especially not up it. I know all the roads from living here forever. It didn't seem too huge of an advantage but it was a great course."

    Pate’s teammate Patrick Gretsch won the prologue and will wear the leader’s jersey into the first road race stage. Americans Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) placed second and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) was third. The race started at the Garden of the Gods Park and descended into downtown Colorado Springs.

    "Finishing downtown, starting in Garden of the Gods, I think they picked a great course," Pate said. "They shut down Colorado Boulevard, which shows the commitment they had to the race to try to make it as good as they can. I thought it went really well today and it will be cool if the event comes back."

    HTC-Highroad brought a strong team to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge that also includes overall contender Tejay Van Garderen along with Caleb Fairly, Craig Lewis, Hayden Roulston, Peter Velits and Lachlan Norris.

    "The guys still come to every race and want to...

  • Cavendish quits the Vuelta

    A relaxed Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) rolls to the start.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 15:47 BST
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad rider retires before climb to Sierra Nevada

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) climbed off during stage 4 of the Vuelta a Espana to Sierra Nevada on Tuesday, apparently suffering from heat and fatigue.

    The Manxman pulled out after the Puerto de los Blancares climb, approximately 40km from the mountain finish in Sierra Nevada.

    Cavendish was riding the Vuelta as preparation for the world championships but now faces more than a month without a major block of racing. He would need permission from the Vuelta organisers and the UCI to be able to ride other events during the Spanish Grand Tour.

    According to UCI  rule 2.6.026: "A rider dropping out of the race may not compete in any other cycling events for the duration of the
    stage race that he abandoned, on pain (sic) of a 15 day suspension and a fine of CHF 200 to 1,000."

    "For major tours, the event directors and the commissaires panel jointly may, however, grant exceptions at the request of a rider and with the agreement of his team manager."

    HTC-Highroad has already lost Matt Goss to illness and will now have target the sprint finishes with John Degenkolb.

    Cyclingnews will have more on Cavendish’s surprise withdrawal as soon as possible.

  • Goss says stomach ailment won't threaten Worlds campaign

    Milan-San Remo winner Matt Goss (HTC - Highroad)
    Article published:
    August 23, 2011, 22:24 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Vuelta withdrawal adds to Australian's motivation

    Matt Goss is optimistic that his forced withdrawal from the Vuelta a España this week will not put a serious dent in his challenge for honours at next month's UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, where the Australian is set to line up is one of the favourites.

    Goss (HTC-Highroad) became the first rider to abandon the Vuelta after being dogged by illness since the day before the race, he told Cyclingnews upon his return to his Monaco home.

    "I wasn’t really keeping anything in my body, if you know what I mean, everything was going straight through," Goss said. "I had three days of that and in the team time trial I was suffering a bit - I had hoped that if I was able to get through a few days then my body was going to start to get better. That, coupled with 45-degree heat, it didn’t take long before I started cramping and I was really super dehydrated and I couldn’t even turn the pedals anymore."

    The Milan–San Remo winner confirmed that it was not the same issue that he had experienced in a few stages of the Tour de France in July, which he put down to "a couple of bad gels."

    Goss had blood tests to diagnose the full extent of his stomach issues on Tuesday morning, and said he was already starting to feel better, far removed from Sunday where he came close to fainting on his way from the team bus.

    "Hopefully it was just some bad food or bad Spanish water," he said.

    Much has been made of Goss' chances in Copenhagen, from as early on as January when he blazed his way to overall victory at the Jayco International criterium series, finished second to Jack Bobridge at the Australian road championship and then finished runner-up on general classification to Cameron Meyer at the Tour Down Under. The...