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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Date published:
August 15, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Gerrans "content" with second at Clasica San Sebastian

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 2:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Encouraging signs for Australian ahead of season's back end

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) made a significant improvement on his 2011 result at the Clasica San Sebastian where he finished 11th, this time taking second place behind winner Luis León Sánchez.

    The Australian road champion led the bunch sprint across the line, seven seconds in arrears of the Spaniard from Rabobank.

    It's been a busy week for Gerrans as he flew to London on Sunday to take part in the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, having been part of Australia's five-man team for the road race.

    "I'm pretty content with second place," said Gerrans, following the podium presentation. "Obviously it would have been great to sprint for the victory instead, but San Sebastian is my first race back after taking a short break after the Olympics. I'm happy to stand on the podium as I begin the last part of my season."

    Gerrans and his teammates conserved their energies for the final 80 kilometres of racing and when the selection occurred on the final descent of the Arkale, the 32-year-old was supported by Cameron Meyer.

    "Basically, there were continuous attacks as we went up the final climb," said Gerrans. "Groups would go away and come back together. The front group was constantly breaking up and reforming. I managed to survive over the final two climbs and not spend too much energy so that I would have something left for the final."

    Sánchez's daring attack inside the final 10kms netted no more than 13 seconds on the chase group but Gerrans was always going to be racing for a minor place on the podium.

    "There were still plenty of guys attacking from behind who wanted to bridge across to Sánchez, but there was no organized chase to bring him back," explained Gerrans. "When he...

  • Vinokourov bids farewell in San Sebastian

    Recently crowned Olympic road champion Alexandr Vinokourov (Astana) has a special jersey to commemorate his win.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 4:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion says it's time for Bazayev to step up for Kazakhstan

    The professional cycling career of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) came to a close with a 35th placing at the Clasica San Sebastian on Tuesday. The Olympic Champion finished over three minutes down on race winner, Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank).

    The Kazakh is unsure of his next move but now the racing is over, he will head home to meet with long-time President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev along with the nation's six other Olympic gold medallists.

    "I was psyched that this year was over and my goal was to win a stage in the Tour," said Vinokourov. "I wanted to leave through the front door. It was not possible to win in France, but it has been even better winning at the Olympics.

    "I did not expect to take the Olympic gold," he continued, sporting the Olympic rings on his jersey. "It was a dream, the best finish, the most you could expect. My family, my friends and Kazakhstan are very happy and for my country has been very important to get an Olympic victory. "

    There had been a possibility that the 38-year-old would contest the world championships in Valkenberg however he decided that the path back from broken right femur at the 2011 Tour de France had proved too difficult.

    "The decision was made," admitted Vinokourov. "With my accident last year it has cost me a lot to get back into shape, it has been hard, but could not leave cycling in that way, it was clear. In my country and my team there are good riders like [Assan] Bazayev that have to step forward and take more responsibility."

    Over his 14-year career, Vinokourov had won grand tour stages, Liege-Bastogne-Liege twice, Amstel Gold Race, Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse to name a few highlights on...

  • Meersman chasing stage wins at Vuelta

    Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 7:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian satisfied with third place at San Sebastian

    Lotto Belisol's Gianni Meersman added to his considerable podium haul for the 2011 season when he finished third at the Clasica San Sebastian behind winner Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).

    Meersman and teammate Jelle Vanendert were in the pursuing group that caught the escapees at 9 kilometers before the finish. Vanendert worked to keep Meersman in contention as Sánchez broke away from the bunch, finishing seven seconds ahead. It was the eighth time that Meersman has finished in the top three this year.

    "I'm satisfied with my third place," said Meersman. "If you had asked me before the race I would have signed for it. The last three kilometers I saw that Luis León could keep his lead and that it would be pretty difficult to be able to sprint for the victory, then I wanted to do everything to finish second. I had to start pretty early, only Simon Gerrans could pass me.

    "The beginning of the race wasn't very tough; it was waiting for the first ascent of the Jaizkibel at 150 kilometers of the end," the Belgian continued. "I was feeling pretty well at that point. The second time I arrived at the top about 20 seconds behind the first group and I could close the gap in the descent. But I didn't feel fantastic at that moment. During the last ascent, at 15 kilometers before the finish, it suddenly went better and I reached the top with the better riders. Then I thought I could sprint to a beautiful result. I'm happy with the podium in this WorldTour race."

    The 26-year-old will make his third appearance at the Vuelta a España this weekend, with

  • IG Pro Cycling Index: Olympics give Wiggins extra boost

    Winner Bradley Wiggins used O Symetric chainrings on his UK Sport Innovation bike. He can't get much further forward either
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 9:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Martin and Vinokourov move up

    It has been three weeks since the last update to the IG Pro Cycling Index and there have been many changes. It has been a busy three week racing period with no less than six races in the Index taking place, including the Olympic road race and time trial and the Eneco Tour.

    Bradley Wiggins enjoyed a healthy lead at the top of the standing after the Tour de France. The Olympic Time Trial was his change to win his fourth Olympic gold medal. Before that test Wiggins rode the Olympic road race in support of Mark Cavendish. He managed to recover well from the huge effort and dominated the time trial beating Tony Martin by 42 seconds. Wiggins’ lead at the top of the rankings is almost insurmountable before the end of the season.

    Tony Martin’s second place saw him return to the top ten and take the title of the highest placed German rider away from Andre Greipel. Chris Froome rounded off the podium in the time trial and as a result moved up two spots to seventh overall. The road race saw Alexandre Vinokourov end his career on a high. Having done little this year he was outside the top 200 but now stands at 78th place. He edged out Rigoberto Uran from Columbia who is now 32nd in the Index.

    Due to the Olympics this year’s race calendar has slight differences to the normal calendar. The Tour of Poland and the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian are taking place at different times than normal. This has had a pronounced effect on the current standings. Peter Sagan has dropped a place to third as he has only now lost his points from the 2011 Tour of Poland. While the delay on the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian till this week. This has meant riders like Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert have not been able to defend their...

  • Astana look to finish season in style at Vuelta

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) tried to get the mountains jersey
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 10:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Kessiakoff to be supported by Tiralongo

    Following an impressive showing at the Tour de France, Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) is expected to be just as good at the Vuelta a España when it begins in Pamplona this Saturday.

    The Swede recently re-signed for Astana off the back of a gallant performance in his Tour de France debut, wearing the polka dot jersey on seven stages in a fierce battle with Frenchman Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). He also earned the red dossard of most combative rider on Stage 8.

    At the Vuelta, he will have increased support from Giro d’Italia stage winner, Paolo Tiralongo.

    "There are a lot of contenders for victory at the Vuelta, but we are up there with them," explained team manager Giuseppe Martinelli. "After his good results at the Tour, here Fredrik Kessiakoff will be able to call on the top-class support of Paolo Tiralongo to try and do even better."

    "I am expecting a good performance from Assan Bazayev, who has definitely still got something to show after his win in the Kazakh Championships," he continued. "Then there is Enrico Gasparotto, who will not only be giving it his best for us, but also for a call-up to the national team in the World Championships."

    Gasparotto won the Amstel Gold Race earlier this year then finished third at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    "Basically, we’ve got all the boxes ticked," concluded Martinelli, "so there is nothing left to do but to give it everything we've got and try to finish the season in style."

    Astana’s full line up for the Vuelta a España is: Fredrik Kessiakoff, Andrey Kashechkin, Assan Bazayev, Alexandr Dyachenko, Enrico Gasparotto, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Egor Silin, Paolo Tiralongo, and Andrey Zeits.

  • Michael Matthews signs for Orica-GreenEdge

    Michael Matthews (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 10:34 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Australian joins from Rabobank on multi-year deal

    Michael Matthews has signed a multi-year contract with Orica-GreenEdge, bringing to an end his two-year stint at Rabobank.

    The 21-year-old is Orica-GreenEdge’s first new signing for 2013, although sporting director Matt White told Cyclingnews that the team only had one more potential spot to fill.

    “Michael has joined us on a multiple-year deal. Most of our riders were on two-year deals anyway and so we only had one spot to fill. There may be one more but we’re not looking to fill that at the moment,” he told Cyclingnews.

    Matthews has enjoyed success at Rabobank, winning a stage of the Tour Down Under in 2011 and a stage of the Tour of Utah this year. White believes he has untapped potential for the future.

    “He’s a very versatile rider. He can climb a bit and of course has a great sprint finish. I think in the coming years we could see him develop as a rider for the week-long stage races too. He’s a big talent,” White added.

    Matthews said in a team press release: "I chose Orica-GreenEdge for several reasons. Most importantly, it will be an amazing experience to be a part of an Australian team. I really look forward to racing with and learning from some of the best Australian riders in the world."

  • Contador: Froome will be tough to beat at the Vuelta

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) returned to competition at the Eneco Tour after serving a doping ban.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 11:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish star impressed by Sky man's form

    Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) may be a strong favourite with the odds compilers for the 2012 Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Pamplona on Saturday, but the Spaniard has insisted that Team Sky's Chris Froome will be tough to be beat when the grand tour gets underway.

    Contador returned from a six-month doping related suspension at last week's Eneco Tour and performed solidly by finishing in fourth place overall after his enforced absence. It looked at the time like an effective warm-up for the Vuelta, which has been Contador's redemptive target since his dramatic fall from grace in February. Having been forced to sit out the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympics, the thought of victory in his homeland at the final grand tour of the season has been the light at the end of the tunnel.

    The 29-year-old has long been considered the best stage racer of his generation and is one of only five riders to win all three grand tours. He will be hunting his second Vuelta title, having won it for the first time in 2008, but he has identified the threat of Team Sky's Chris Froome as being potentially the most potent over the next three and a bit weeks.

    Froome was the surprise runner-up at the Vuelta last year behind Juan Jose Cobo, eclipsing the performance of his teammate and Sky's number one Bradley Wiggins, who finished third. This year Froome has proved that his performance in Spain was no fluke by finishing second at the Tour behind Wiggins and winning bronze at the time trial at the Olympic Games. Many observers were of the opinion that Froome was the strongest rider at the...

  • US national champ Duggan reflects on a banner year

    Ted King and Timmy Duggan (Liquigas) training together
    Article published:
    August 15, 2012, 13:16 BST
    Ben Delaney

    After a couple years of crashes, 2012 brings national title and Olympic berth

    2008 was The Crash – brain trauma, followed by a long recovery.

    2010 was The Triple – three separate spills breaking the left arm three separate times.

    But 2012, well, 2012 has brought a US national road title, a trip to the Olympics, a brand new house in the Colorado Rockies and more for 29-year-old Timmy Duggan of Liquigas-Cannodale.

    “2012 has been a fantastic season for me,” Duggan said at his home in Nederland, Colorado.

    “It’s always been on my bucket list to win the national championship and to go to the Olympics. This year, the lead-up to those two events, and the goals of my Liquigas team aligned, and I was able to perform at the right times and have a few opportunities to race for myself. And when I saw those I was able to be prepared and pull the trigger.”

    Fresh off of some aggressive racing at the Tour of Utah, Duggan and fellow American Ted King will be lining up next week for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in support of grand tour winners Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali.

    “It’s been a great middle of the season for me, but I’m really looking forward to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Canadian World Tour races. I’ve done those twice now, I’m starting to feel experienced in them. They are hard, hilly races that suit me, and I’m looking forward to doing really well there.”

    Duggan will break out newly designed national champion’s kit for the Pro Cycling Challenge, with a bit more red than the one he raced in...