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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Date published:
August 29, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta time trial course breaks with past

    Chris Froome (Team Sky) on his break-out ride in the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 10:10 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Cyclingnews TT recon: highly technical, very hilly and a nasty descent

    Remember when the Vuelta a España time trial courses used to specialize in flat, featureless motorway routes running through flat, featureless desert, with only the odd sign informing you there was 100 kilometres to go to the next exit to break the monotony?

    Zaragoza 2007 was probably the most (least) memorable of those: on a 52.2 kilometre motorway course running through semi-desert with no hills and virtually no corners where future world time trial champion Bert Grabsch used a massive gear to destroy the field. All credit to Grabsch’s racing, but it was about as interesting to watch as paint drying.

    In 2010 we had Peñafiel, which was flat and straight, but at least had massive vineyards as a backdrop to keep us from getting bored, and in 2011 at Salamanca, it was rolling and straight and there was the surprise of Chris Froome (Sky) taking the lead to maintain the interest, but we were back to semi-desert and burned out cornfields as a backdrop. Either way, until the results came in, they were still courses where much churning of large gears and a correspondingly high tum-ti-tum factor was the order of the day.

    Anyway, if Wednesday’s stage 11 time trial is anything to go by, those times are very much behind us. In 39.4 kilometres of racing between Cambados and Pontevedra, there are perhaps two stretches of 500 metres in the entire course that could be defined as straightaways.

    The rest is a non-stop blur of corners, climbs, scary descents, hairpin bends, and rolling terrain, all on roads that are ‘A’-road quality at best, which makes it a real test of technical ability rather than...

  • Bouhanni not satisfied with second place

    French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat)
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 10:44 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French champion chases Vuelta stage win

    Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) is getting closer, but the French champion has yet to get the better of John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) in the bunch finishes at the Vuelta a España. Bouhanni finished second behind Degenkolb in Sanxenxo on Tuesday, but the 22-year-old said that he had come to Spain to win.

    “I came here with the goal of winning a stage,” Bouhanni told L’Équipe. “I’ve been fourth here twice already and I really feel that a victory is in within my grasp. Finishing second on a stage of Vuelta might seem good but I don’t want to be satisfied with that. There aren’t a lot of opportunities left. If I want to win, I’ll have to approach it differently.”

    Degenkolb has been unbeatable in the sprints thus far at the Vuelta and his triumph on the rising finishing straight on stage 10 was his fourth of the race. While Bouhanni acknowledged the German’s power, he also pointed to the support of his Argos-Shimano team as a crucial factor in his success.

    “It’s true that his really strong but he’s benefiting from a team perfectly built around him, and the rest becomes easy for him,” said Bouhanni.

    By contrast, Bouhanni has been left largely to his own devices in the finale and he feels that the energy expended in fighting for position has cost him dearly in the finishing straight.

    “Again today, I made efforts that cost me in the final metres,” he said. “I still think I can win a stage but to do that, I can’t make a mistake in preparing the sprint. I’m realising that in a race like this, you don’t have the right to make an error.”

    In a Vuelta with so many summit finishes, bunch sprints are at...

  • Danish Federation board member positive for doping

    Herning, Denmark welcomes the Giro d'Italia for the Italian Grand Tour's first three stages.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 12:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Masters racer resigns from Federation and club

    Søren Svenningsen has resigned from the Board of Directors of the Danish Cycling Union after testing positive for three substances at a masters-level race at the end of June. He has also resigned from his position as chairman of the Holte Bicycle Club.

    The DCU announced the news Wednesday morning, saying that Svenningsen tested positive for testosterone and two different steroids an June 30 at the race.

    "I am deeply shocked to have received the news of Søren Svenningsen's positive drug tests. We stand for a clear and consistent doping position in the DCU, and that a leader in the Danish cycling and even a board member of DCU tested positive, and thus breaks our trust, is inexcusable,” DCU president Tom Lund said on the federation's website.

    "As President of DCU, I would like to emphasize that our anti-doping line will continue to be clear and consistent, and we will continue to hunt down cheaters. During 1999, we drew the line and introduced zero tolerance. In fact, Søren Svenningsen's case an example of successful collaboration with Anti Doping Denmark, as we have just pointed out the need to test in the veteran classes,” he said.

    Svenningsen was formerly associated with the Danish Continental-ranked Team GLS, which rode under the name Capinordic in 2009.  It folded after that season when the sponsor withdrew.

  • Moser takes aim at Worlds

    Moreno Moser wins stage 6 of the Tour of Poland
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 13:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Liquigas neo-pro excited by course

    Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) has been one of the revelations of the 2012 season and the Italian neo-professional is aiming to round out his debut campaign with selection for the world championships in Valkenburg.

    Just 21 years of age, Moser won his third race as a professional, the Trofeo Laigueglia in February, and followed that up with wins at the GP Frankfurt and the general classification at the Tour of Poland.

    Indeed, after his Polish victory, there was a late clamour for Moser’s inclusion in the Italian team for the London 2012 Olympics, but by that point coach Paolo Bettini had already selected his line-up.

    “Simply put, the coach had to pick his men for London before my exploit in Poland, so I wasn’t under any illusions,” Moser told Tuttobici. “Even though I had done the pre-Olympic testing, I wasn’t hopeful from the start. When I got back from Poland, I spoke on the phone with Bettini who confirmed that he would really have liked to have had me in London, but the rules meant that the selections had to be entered early, so there wasn’t much to be done.”

    In spite of his tender years, it seems increasingly likely that Moser will be included in Bettini’s nine-man team for Valkenburg. “Yes, I might not necessarily have to ride as a gregario there,” he smiled. “I’ll work to get there in top form. It’s for that reason that I rested a bit after Poland and changed my plans. I skipped the Eneco Tour and went to Colorado [for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge – ed.] instead.”

    The finish line of the Worlds comes a little over a...

  • Indurain: Contador "too eager" so far in Vuelta

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) on the attack at the end of stage 8
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 13:59 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard must pick his moment

    Miguel Indurain believes that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) has been “too eager” in the Vuelta a España to date and that he needs to pick and choose his attacks more carefully.

    Contador returned to competitive action in early August after sitting out the past six months of racing as part of a back-dated suspension for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.

    The Spaniard has been an aggressive presence at the Vuelta thus far but has yet to win a stage and begins Wednesday’s time trial in 3rd place overall, a minute behind Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

    “I think Alberto Contador is riding with too much eagerness,” Indurain wrote in Marca. “I think someone should calm him down […] and explain that it is better to attack less often, but with more effectiveness and a better result. Because, when you attack, the aim has to be to do damage to your rivals.”

    Contador attacked no fewer than six times on the climb of the Arrate on stage 3, but was unable to drop his main rivals. An attack inside the final kilometre of the Collada de la Gallina on stage 8 looked to set to net Contador a stage win, but Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) swept past him in the closing metres.

    In the finale of the following day’s stage to Barcelona, Contador admitted that he had made an error in attacking before the final climb up Montjuic.

    “Alberto is riding like he’s in a hurry, as if the Vuelta finished tomorrow, when the reality is that it’s only just starting,” Indurain continued. “He wants things now, and sometimes, when you ride on the counterattack, it can bring the opposite...

  • Fedrigo re-signs with FDJ-Big Mat for two years

    Yes! Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ-BigMat) on the podium after winning Tour de France stage 15.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 14:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman won Tour de France stage in Pau

    Pierrick Fedrigo has re-signed with FDJ-Big Mat for another two years, the French WorldTour team announced. He will now stay with the team through 2014.

    The 35-year-old suffered from Lyme disease in 2011, and struggled through much of the season. He came into the 2012 season with good health and in addition to many top placings on the year, can came away with two wins, including a stage at the Criterium International.

    However, he marked his comeback most clearly by winning a two-man sprint in the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France this summer to claim his fourth lifetime Tour stage win. Coincidentally, it was in Pau, where he won his last stage, in 2010.

    Fedrigo turned pro in 2002 with Credit Agricole, moving to Bouygues Telecom in 2005. He joined FDJ last year.

    In addition to the four Tour stages, he has won the Four Days of Dunkirk (2005), the Tour du Limousin (2005-2007) and the Criterium International (2010). He was also national road race champion in 2005.

  • Contador has no complaints after missing Vuelta stage and race lead

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) is one second off the red jersey.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 17:48 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spain’s Alberto Contador satisfied, Valverde too

    Just one second behind in the overall classification, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) says he can only be satisfied despite such an agonisingly near miss. Contador missed out on the stage 11 Vuelta time trial to Pontevedra by 17 seconds to Fredrik Kessiakoff. He now sits one second off the leader, Joaquim Rodriguez, with Chris Froome third, at 16 seconds.

    “I really wanted to win the stage, but it’s a good result all the same,” Contador said at the finish. “It’s always good to have an advantage over direct rivals like [Chris] Froome.”

    “The most important thing is my sensations were very good, and every day I’m feeling stronger.”

    “The Vuelta starts now, and I’m in a good position with my terrain, the mountains, still to come. There’s a long way yet to go, and this has only just begun.”

    Another satisfied Spaniard was Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), saying that “I knew this time trial wasn’t bad for me, but I’m very pleased. I’m still in the fight and I didn’t expect to be doing so well. The overall classification isn’t over for me.”

    “[Team-mates Jonathan] Castroviejo and Beñat Intxausti were my two reference points, and I kept a steady rhythm throughout.”

    Asked if he resented what had happened on stage four to Ezcaray, where had it not been for the crash and echelon, he would not have lost nearly a minute, Valverde said “what’s the point in looking back? You’ve just got to think about the future, and right now I can be very pleased with how it’s looking.”

  • Kessiakoff’s wait pays off in Vuelta time trial

    Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) rides to victory at the Vuelta a Espana.
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 19:24 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Astana rider delighted to take victory

    “It’s a great relief,” Fredrik Kessiakoff said after the Astana rider waited nearly two hours for confirmation that he had won the time trial in the Vuelta on Wednesday.

    “At least I can walk away with one victory, so can Astana, and now we’ve done that we can feel more confident and relaxed. The pressure is off, and maybe more wins wil come.”

    Asked about how he had tackled the course, the 32-year-old Swede - who's previous big win was a stage of the Tour de Suisse earlier this year - said “I knew I had to start very well, which doesn’t mean full gas, it means finding a good rhythm. I had the same kind of sensations as I’d had in the Tour de Suisse.”

    “I caught two guys before I got to the first climb, so I knew I was going well, and I knew that the climb was very long and it would be about suffering all the way up.”

    “As for the downhill, I just told myself to enjoy it after that really complicated first section and tough climb.”

    With over 50 riders still due to finish after him, Kessiakoff described his wait as “very tough on the nerves. But even if I hadn’t won, I was still happy with my performance.”

    Given Tony Martin won the World’s time trial after winning the Vuelta time trial, it was only natural to ask if Kessiakoff had had any thoughts of doing the same.

    “I was not due to take part in the World’s time trial, I’d told the Swedish national trainer I wasn’t so interested because I thought I wouldn't have the head for it after finishing the Vuelta. But now maybe I should reconsider!”