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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Date published:
August 22, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Team Optum starts strong at USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Mike Friedman (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) heads out during the rain.
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 8:03 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    US Continental squad won team classification on opening stage

    Making its USA Pro Cycling Challenge debut, the US-based UCI Continental squad Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies was quick to stamp its name on the Colorado stage race's opening day on Monday, a taxing 202.1km from Durango to Telluride.

    The team figured strongly in Monday's sprint finale in Telluride and also claimed the team classification for the opening stage. Additionally, Andrew Bajadali was prominent in the 22-man break which nearly rode away with the stage.

    Prior to the start of the USA Pro Cycling's second stage, Cyclingnews spoke with Team Optum's Mike Friedman in Montrose. Friedman was a key lead-out rider the previous day in Telluride for the team's sprinter Alex Candelario and Friedman spoke of the demanding tempo throughout the day as well as the hectic final kilometre of a sprint ultimately claimed by Garmin-Sharp's Tyler Farrar.

    Friedman surprised himself with his own performance on a stage which crested Lizard Head Pass, the category 2 ascent topping out at 10,222 feet with 25km remaining and expressed the team's mission of being aggressive each and every day in Colorado.

  • IG Pro Cycling Index: One day races bring changes

    2012 San Sebastian champion Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 9:07 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sanchez, Gerrans and Demare move up

    With the changes to the cycling calendar due to the Olympics there were two big one day races taking place last week. The Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian and Vattenfall Cyclassics are both WorldTour races. In the IG Index they are in different tiers with San Sebastian in tier two alongside such races as Strade Bianche and Gent-Wevelgem. Vattenfall Cyclassics is a tier three race alongside races like Paris-Bruxelles and Giro del Piemonte.

    The Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian normally takes place the weekend after the Tour de France finishes. This year it was pushed back in the calendar due to the Olympic Games. Luis Leon Sanchez still managed to retain his form from the Tour de France to take the win. The Spaniard attacked out of a group of twenty riders to in the closing stages. It was a bold and daring move and he now stands in 23rd spot in the Index. It should be noted that Sanchez still retains both titles of the greatest distance and days raced in the last 12 months. In total he has raced 16,409 kilometres and 105 days.

    In the sprint behind Sanchez Simon Gerrans led home the group followed by Gianni Meersman. Gerrans is now in 12th place in the Index and is the highest placed Australian and Orica Greenedge rider. Meersman was one of the week’s biggest movers in the top 200 with the points his third place gave him. He jumped up 76 positions to 96th in the Index. The Belgium rider is now racing the Vuelta a España where he will be aiming to win his first ever grand tour stage win.

    The Vattenfall Cyclassics is one of the few one day races in the calendar that is favourable to the sprinters. The past winners include  sprinters such as Zabel, McEwen and Freire. This year’s race was decided in a sprint once again after lots of attacking racing from 60km to go. It was young Frenchman Arnaud Demare who won the sprint by a clear distance. Demare won the under 23 world...

  • Ex-pros back Sky in Valverde crash row

    Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was quite annoyed to have lost his lead when Sky forced the pace at the same time he was caught in a crash
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 9:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Seven out of eight consulted say Sky correct to continue echelon

    A survey of former professionals by the Spanish newspaper AS has found that an overwhelming majority say Sky did not behave incorrectly when Alejandro Valverde fell and then the British team continued to drive the echelon they had just started to form seconds before the crash happened on stage 4 of the Vuelta a España.

    Valverde slumped from first to ninth overall, and yesterday was furious with Sky’s racing tactics, going to the Sky team bus to remonstrate with the British team after the finish.

    However, all eight ex-pros interviewed said they did not believe there was any kind of intentionality in the crash, something that even Valverde’s Movistar sports director Eusebio Unzue, who initially accused the British of provoking the pile-up, now recognises.

    Only one, 2006 Tour winner Oscar Pereiro argued that Sky should have stopped, saying “Sky, as well as other teams, waited for Cadel Evans (BMC) in the Tour this year [when hooligans flung tacks on the course on a stage through the Pyrenees – ed.] so there is a precedent.”

    However, the other seven – all Spanish – are anything but convinced that is the case, with experienced radio commentator and former Vuelta podium finisher Eduardo Chozas saying “there’s no norm for this kind of situation and if they had waited, the racing would have become devalued. I’m sorry for Valverde, but they shouldn’t have stopped in this case.”

    “Why should they stop?” former Tour and Vuelta stage winner Roberto Laiseka told AS. “They formed the echelon and they went for it. It wasn’t unsporting.”

    “In my time we went on at a normal...

  • Orica-GreenEdge double-up with Kruopis in France

    Aidis Kruopis (Orica GreenEdge) wins stage 4 at the Tour of Poland.
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 10:28 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Clarke makes it two wins in one day at la Vuleta

    There was even more reason for the riders of Orica-GreenEdge to celebrate when Adis Kruopis took the opening stage and the overall race lead at Tour du Poitou Charentes yesterday. His third win of the year came just hours before Simon Clarke took his first professional victory at the Vuelta a España.

    "I had a perfect lead out from Jens [Keukeleire] and Leigh [Howard]," said Kruopis. "Jens took over with one kilometre to go, and Leigh was the last rider in front of me. He dropped me off, and I sprinted to the line. It was a hard sprint because of a headwind, and I thought someone might pass me but nobody was close on the line," he said after the race.

    The stage win and time bonuses gave the 25-year-old a slim one-second lead in the overall standings. Kruopis has enjoyed a number of wins this year after winning a stage at the Tour of Norway and Tour of Poland however, the Lithuanian had the benefit of experience during for the finale at the French race.

    "Jens knew the finish," explained team director Lionel Marie. "He raced here two years ago and this finish was included then. That’s why we had him take charge of our sprint in the last kilometre. All three riders gave their maximum. Aidis finished off their effort and arrived two bike lengths ahead of everyone else. He made it look easy. It was a perfect day for us. We did our work, and we finished first," he said.

    Kruopis is not...

  • Devolder in talks with RadioShack-Nissan

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM)
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 11:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Double Ronde winner to reunite with Bruyneel and Demol?

    After two listless campaigns in the colours of Vacansoleil-DCM, Stijn Devolder looks set to join RadioShack-Nissan next season, where he would be reunited with Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol.

    Devolder spent four years under Bruyneel and Demol’s tutelage at US Postal and Discovery Channel, where he was initially touted as a future Grand Tour contender and successor to Lance Armstrong. When Discovery Channel withdrew from sponsorship at the end of 2007, Devolder left for QuickStep, where he went on to win the Tour of Flanders two years in succession.

    The Kortrijk native has failed to win a race in his two years at Vacansoleil, however, and in July, the team confirmed that it would not renew his contract. While Devolder was coy about revealing his destination for 2013, Het Nieuwsblad reports that he is likely to be confirmed as a RadioShack rider in the next week.

    “For me the most important thing is that I come into an environment with people who know me and trust me,” Devolder said. “Sometimes the difference between success and failure is a matter of detail, and for me details simply make a big difference.”

    RadioShack manager Bruyneel, who has been charged with doping by the US Anti-Doping Agency, confirmed that he had been in talks with Devolder. “I don’t see why I wouldn’t do that,” he said.

    Demol, who was something of a mentor to Devolder during his spell at US Postal and Discovery Channel, said that he was “ready to receive him with open arms.”

    Both Cofidis and Europcar are also reported to have expressed interest...

  • Cavendish returns to action at Tour of Denmark

    World Champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 12:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Short stage races a possible future target

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) returns to competitive action for the first time since the London 2012 Olympics road race when he lines up for stage 1 of the Tour of Denmark in Randers on Wednesday.

    The world champion, whose future at Team Sky has been the subject of considerable speculation in recent weeks, is set to lock horns with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Oscar Freire (Katusha) in a race that could feature up to four bunch finishes.

    “Boonen didn’t ride the Tour de France, so I don’t know what to expect of him, but I think he will be the toughest competitor,” Cavendish told Ekstra Bladet.

    Cavendish took the first stage race victory of his career at the Ster ZLM Toer in June, but in spite of the flat parcours, he ruled out a repeat performance in Denmark. “This year, the GC is totally ruled out because I’m not in good enough shape,” he said. “We’re riding for Lars-Petter Nordhaug and I’m hoping to win stages.”

    Nonetheless, Cavendish admitted that his appetite to test himself in short, flat stage races had been whetted by his June success.

    “I overcame a big obstacle when I won the Ster ZLM Toer, and now I know I can win [races like this],” he said. “It could be a goal for me in the future. Not the big races, but shorter stage races like the Tour of Denmark and Tour of Britain, where there are no really big mountains.”

    For now, Cavendish is pleased simply to return to Denmark, scene of his world championship victory last September. In addition, one of his earliest professional...

  • Zabriskie getting the job done at USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) leads the break.
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 13:27 BST
    By:
    Pat Malach

    Going deep, "puking" and backing up again

    Garmin-Sharp's Dave Zabriskie, seven-time US time trial national champion and winner of stages in all three Grand Tours, obviously knows how to suffer. But his efforts so far at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado have taken agony to a new level.

    In a moment broadcast to the world on live television, Zabriske dropped from a breakaway that he had been powering throughout stage 1 and vomited in the road before seeking medical attention for cramps and nausea. He eventually finished with the gruppetto, some 15 minutes after his teammate Tyler Farrar brought home the stage win in Telluride.

    "I was going pretty hard, pretty deep," he told Cyclingnews after the stage. "And then the last super deep effort - I let the group split and then bridged up to those guys - that was pretty hard to get to them. I was planning to pull them and I finally, I don't know; the body said stop and my spirit said you're puking."

    Then, after one night of recovery, Zabriske hit out again on the super-fast opening of stage 2 from Montronse to Crested Butte. He joined teammate Alex Howes, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team), Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan), Vincenzo Nibali and Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Julien El Fares (Team Type 1-Sanofi), Craig Lewis (Champion System Pro Cycling Team), Chris Baldwin (Bissell Pro Cycling), Matt Cooke (Team Exergy), plus Rafael Infantino Abreu and Jorge Camilo Castiblanco Cubides (EPM-Une) in a 12 rider breakaway that escaped about 20 km into the 159.3 km race.

    Again, Zabriske wasted little time going to the front of the...

  • Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies accepts TTT Worlds invitation

    Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in action during the stage 2 team time trial at the Tour of Utah
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 15:29 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    US Continental squad qualified from American Tour ranking

    The US-based Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies squad has announced that it has accepted an invitation to compete in the upcoming team time trial world championship, being held as part of the UCI road world championships in Limburg, The Netherlands, held September 15-23. The team time trial will be re-introduced at the upcoming UCI road world championships on September 16. Last contested in 1994 by national teams, the team time trial will now be contested by men's and women's trade teams which will vie for world titles over 53.2km and 34.2km distances respectively.

    For the men's field, all 18 WorldTeams are required to field teams while 32 additional Pro Continental and Continental were offered invitations based on the August 15 team rankings of the five UCI Continental Tours: 20 from the Europe Tour, five each from the American Tour and Asia Tour, plus one each from the Africa and Oceania Tour. Team Optum finished third on the America Tour rankings, behind Funvic-Pindamonhangaba and UnitedHealthcare teams and ahead of the Real Cycling Team and Team Type 1-Sanofi squads.

    "As soon as we realized we were definitely going to be in, immediately following [Tour of] Utah, I had conversations with my mechanics and with [team directors] Eric Wohlberg and Jake Erker and it just seemed like a no-brainer," team manager Jonas Carney told Cyclingnews at the USA Pro Challenge. "Why wouldn't we do it? We were going to be in Europe racing anyway and it's just a great experience for the team, the riders and the staff. There's no reason not to race when you're invited to the world championships."

    The team time trial will be contested by six-man teams, with the time based on the fourth rider to cross the finish line. Carney told...