Fly V Australia, Colavita lead teams' classification
Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home) is set to become the next USA Cycling National Racing Calendar champion after both he and main rival Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis) failed to finish the series’ penultimate round. Sutherland was struck with illness at last week’s Tour of Utah, which saw him fail to finish the event and make no ground on Amaran’s substantial series lead.
Fly V Australia leads the men’s teams standings, helped further by its victory in the teams classification at Utah.
With Utah being a men’s only event the women’s standings remain unchanged with Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci) leading the series. The Colavita-Baci squad also leads the women’s series team standings.
Both series conclude at the 27th Annual Chris Thater Memorial on August 28-29.
Cycling Australia has named its final elite and under 23 men's selections for the UCI Road World Championships, which begins in Geelong, Australia, on September 29.
Local fans will be disappointed to see that Robbie McEwen is not included in the team - as reported in recent days - as selectors have chosen a road race squad with an experienced mix of sprinters, climbers and domestiques equipped to handle several contigencies, given the nature of the course. Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) and Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) have also been left out of the line up.
Included in the team are sprinters Matthew Goss, Baden Cooke and Allan Davis, with Goss having displayed stellar form all season, most recently with a win in the GP Ouest France-Plouay.
Reigning world champion Cadel Evans (pictured right), Michael Rogers and Simon Gerrans cover the climbing angle while the indefatigable Stuart O'Grady and Mathew Hayman partner Wesley Sulzberger as the team's ever-reliable trio of quality domestiques.
Celebrated pro rookie Richie Porte will ride the time trial after a spectacular season in Europe, as will Rogers, who is riding both TT and road race in these championships on home turf.
All eyes will be on tearaway 'sprinter' Michael Matthews in the U23 men's road race, the Jayco-Skins rider having enjoyed an excellent season throughout Asia and Europe in 2010. He'll ride that event with powerhouse West Australian Luke Durbridge, Joe Lewis, South Australian climber Tim Roe, Nick Aitken and Queenslander Malcolm Rudolph.
Durbridge will partner with his fellow team pursuit world champion Rohan Dennis as part of Australia's U23 time trial squad, with Matthews also taking his place in the race against the clock.
The final women's squad will be announced on September 14, with those in the mix for a place including Rachel Neylan, Rochelle Gilmore, Chloe Hosking, Ruth Corset, Alexis Rhodes and Carlee Taylor in a long list of...
Form determines the status of Australian "recruit"
Despite being seriously considered to ride for the Australian national team at this year's UCI road world championships in Geelong, Australia, Heinrich Haussler was not a member of the final squad which was announced earlier today.
Cycling Australia's national performance director, Shayne Bannan, told Cyclingnews that his poor form resulting from a knee injury which has plagued him for most of the season - the same ailment that forced him out of the Tour de France - kept the Australia-born, former German representative out of his new national set-up.
"His knee is just about 100 per cent - where he is lacking is the race conditioning. His rehabilitation is going extremely well," said Bannan.
"He's had limited racing this year and really his focus now has turned towards next season and making sure he's getting his rehabilitation right and he's not rushing into it [racing]."
Today Haussler released a statement on the Cervélo TestTeam website, outlining the reasons he won't be racing in Australia. "If I were to go to the start line at the world championships, I would want to be 100 per cent in shape and able to ride for the victory. This will unfortunately not be possible for me," he said.
"It would have been a dream to start on home soil but I am not ready yet. My main focus is now already on next season, where I want to perform well again in my favourite spring classic races."
This was the sentiment expressed by Bannan, who recognised that Haussler's attributes as a rider were well suited to the race route, which includes potentially windswept sections and 3,076m of vertical gain over the 260km parcours.
"It would have been a fairly significant gamble in selecting him but in saying that we were quite comfortable in selecting him in the final 15 a number of weeks ago because at that stage his rehabilitation was going extremely well and he may have still been quite a good option."
Denis Menchov of Rabobank is going into the Vuelta a Espana with the intention of winning the race for the third time. “I'm not tired mentally and physically I'm fine. I'm going with the intention of winning, but it is never easy.“
Interviewed by the Spanish website AS.com, the 32-year-old said that he is looking to be strong at the end of the three-week race. “I think the race will be decided in the end, at the Andorra stage and, above all, in the block of Asturias stages and the time trials. That's where we should be strong.”
His toughest rivals may be Andy and Fränk Schleck of Team Saxo Bank. “On reputation they appear to be the most dangerous. But they have to prove it.”
Menchov finished third in the Tour de France this year and won the Giro d'Italia in 2009, while he has already won the Vuelta twice. “Yes I have always done well here. I do not know why. In the mountains it is as hard as the Tour and Giro. I know the Spanish roads better, but like in the Tour there are also some unknown areas every year. Perhaps it's that I feel better in September, I don't know.”
The Russian, who next year will ride for Team Geox, also went into the Tour with the aim of winning. “And I was not far away. I gambled on making up time in the last time trial.” Menchov had been fourth overall going into the penultimate stage time trial, 21 seconds behind Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez. He took two minutes out of the Basque rider, moving on to the podium.
“Overall, I have to be happy with my performance,” he concluded.
Tom Boonen continues to have problems with his knee. His recovery had initially appeared to be progressing well following his surgery on July 15, but last week he began suffering from knee pain once again.
"We're not panicking," Patrick Lefevere told the Gazet van Antwerpen. "It seems that a little scar tissue is acting up. According to Dr. Van Mol that happens often, but Tom must now cut back his training. "
"We were hoping that Tom could start in Paris-Brussels on September 11, but we now have to give up on that idea,” Lefevere told Sporza.be. “The Franco-Belge on September 30 is the goal."
The former world champion injured his left knee in crashes at the Amgen Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse. He was forced to miss the Belgian Championships and Tour de France due to the problem.
Boonen, who has not competed since June 20, has four wins this season.
British sprinter targets form and stage wins at Vuelta
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) loves to prove people wrong and the more he hears others say that the course for the world championships in Australia is too hard for him, the more he is determined to win.
Since winning his fifth stage at the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees in Paris, Cavendish has kept a low profile, focusing on recovering from three weeks of hard racing and preparing for the world championships. He turned down huge offers to ride criteriums and has let his rivals speculate that he will be dropped on the two short climbs on each lap in Geelong. He only broke his silence in an interview published in today's Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy.
"Are they sure they'll drop me so easily?" he asked Gazzetta with a hint of sarcasm.
"I hope to be at my very best in Melbourne and then we'll talk about it…"
"When I knew Britain only had three places, I was disappointed. But Max Sciandri reminded me that the worlds is a strange race. In the past riders have won it with only a few teammates."
Cavendish rode the Tre Valli Varesine and then the Coppa Bernocchi one-day races in Italy last week to test his form before starting the Vuelta on Saturday. He didn't finish the hilly race around Varese but was third in Bernocchi behind Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF) and Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini).
"The Tour was very stressful and riding criteriums isn't my idea of taking a break. I preferred to stay in Tuscany and switch off completely. And eat! I've put a bit of weight on…" he admitted, shrugging off being beaten by Belletti.
"It was a hard race and my teammates had worked to pull the break back, so I was on my own in the finale. I tried to take advantage of the work done by Garmin for Farrar but Fischer didn’t do a fast lead out and so Belletti was able to come from behind and surprise us."
Cavendish will target stage victories at the Vuelta, knowing that...
Ukrainian riders move to Lampre as sponsors switch teams
Italian teams ISD-Neri and Lampre-Farnese Vini will switch sponsors for 2011, with the Ukraine steel company ISD set to become joint first sponsor at the Lampre ProTour team and Farnese Vini becoming the first sponsor for the smaller Professional Continental team.
Lampre announced the link-up with ISD last week and Angelo Citracca confirmed to Cyclingnews that Farnese Vini will replace them at his team. Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Mario Cipollini's bike company would be the second sponsor and bike supplier. However Citracca said that pickled-vegetable company Neri was likely to stay as second sponsor.
Both teams will keep their respective team leaders after Damiano Cunego signed a new contract with Giuseppe Saronni and Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti opted to stay with the Tuscan-based Professional Continental squad.
As part of the exchange, five riders and several Ukrainian team staff are set to move to Lampre for 2011. The riders are: Denys Kostyuk, Dmitry Krivtsov, Alexander Kvachuk, Vitaly Kondrut and Ruslan Pidgornyy.
Citracca told Cycingnews that he has re-signed sprinter Oscar Gatto and Germany's Patrick Sinkewitz for 2011 and added Thomas Bertolini, Francesco Failli and veteran Andre Noe'.
Thanks to the sponsor changes, Lampre hopes to have a stronger ProTour team in 2011, while Citracca hopes his team can secure an invitation to the 2011 Giro d'Italia and the Ardennes classics.
Evgeni Petrov will ride for Team Astana for two seasons, the Kazakh team has announced. It also announced that it has signed Tanel Kangert of Estonia and Italian Francesco Masciarelli to one-year contracts
Petrov, 32. this year won a stage at the Giro d'Italia for Team Katusha. The Russian rider turned pro in 2001 with Mapei-QuickStep, and has also ridden for iBanesto.com, Saeco, Lampre and Tinkoff Credit Systems.
Masciarelli, 24, is a climbing specialist who has ridden with Acqua & Sapone since 2007. He won a stage of the Tour Méditerranéen this year.
Kangert, 23, rode for AG2R in 2008 and 2009, but did not have a pro contract this season.
The team has already announced the signings of Roman Kreuziger and Robert Kiserlovski from Liquigas, and the re-signing of Alexander Vinokourov. Tour de Franc winner Alberto Contador is leaving the team for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard, taking with him Jesus Hernandez, Daniel Navarro and Benjamin Noval.