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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Date published:
September 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Belgian team has healthy ambitions for world championships

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) jumped early in the sprint, but Philippe GIlbert (BMC) came around the Norwegian in the closing meters to win stage 12 at the Vuelta
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 3:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bomans still finalising injury-hit squad

    Carlo Bomans, Belgian national coach, is still to finalise his team for the  UCI Road World Championships in Florence until September 29. With Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) already ruled out, things have gone from bad to worse for Bomans following the crashes of Kevin de Weert (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Bart de Clercq (Lotto Belisol) at the Vuelta a España.

    Current President of the Belgium Cycling Federation, Tom Van Damme, has already come out stating that he believes the current predicament for the cycling superpower is a result of poor supervision of -and a lack of ambition from- Belgian riders.

    Troubles for the Belgian squad started with the season-ending injury to Van den Broeck and were soon followed by the Ben Hermans incident at the Tour of Poland. With just seven riders to play from, Bomans' selection headaches soon turned to a migraine with Boonen, de Weert and de Clercq now all out of contention.

    "The fall of De Weert was a severe setback. Kevin is a loyal, and conscientious hard worker. I'm going to miss him," the Belgian coach told Sporza.

    This leaves Bomans with the question of which riders remain as the best candidates to help reigning World Champion, Pillippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), defend his title. Bomans is clear in stating...

  • Riis: Roche must keep trying for GC

    Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) claws back a few seconds in the GC fight
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 5:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Saxo-Tinkoff boss predicting "war" for the podium

    With two stage wins and two podiums, plus the overall lead for a day at the Vuelta a España, Bjarne Riis is a satisfied man. However, the Saxo-Tinkoff boss is still hoping for more.

    The Vuelta resumes today with five stages remaining in the final grand tour of 2013.

    "The Vuelta has been super for us," Riis told ekstrabladet.dk. "It has been a success."

    Nicolas Roche, with a stage win and the race lead on stage 8 already to his name is currently sixth overall, 3:43 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and as far as Riis is concerned, the Irishman’s race is far from over.

    "I certainly think that we still need to go for GC," he stated. "One can never know what happens. We are in the last week, and people start to get tired. Suddenly the podium might be within reach again. We must believe that.

    "There is also an opportunity to ride for stage wins. It'll be the people who have tried in recent days – [Rafal] Majka, Chris Anker, Oliver Zaugg and of course Nicolas Roche."

    Riis maintains that Nibali is still the man to beat but the Dane does not believe the Astana rider will have it all his own way, with Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) 28 seconds in arrears, and with Alejandro Valverde a further 46 seconds back.

    "There will be war. It has probably given the others a feeling that Nibali was in crisis on Monday, I think there was attacks coming from everywhere," predicted Riis with Nibali losing time to his rivals during stage 16, unable to keep pace with the attacks in the final three kilometres of the stage.

    "If Nibali continues in that way from Monday, it may...

  • New venue for Tour Down Under opener

    Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) takes out the People's Choice Classic after a powerful display by his team
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 6:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Criterium moves from Rymill Park to River Torrens

    South Australian Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, has announced a new course for the People's Choice Classic circuit race that acts as a prelude to the Tour Down Under. Moving from its old home around Rymill Park, the new circuit will start on Victoria Drive and take riders over the River Torrens and around the northern edge of the University of Adelaide.

    "The People's Choice Classic is always an exhilarating preview to the six-stage Santos Tour Down Under and in 2014 we'll see riders start the closed-circuit race on Victoria Drive," said Bignell.

    "The peloton will test their legs on a route that takes them over the River Torrens and through Adelaide's beautiful parklands, with plenty of great vantage points for fans to enjoy the action while perhaps enjoying a picnic by the river.

    "For the first time the race will travel past the scenic northern edge of the University of Adelaide."

    Race director Mike Turtur was similarly enthused about the new circuit that should continue to deliver plenty of exciting racing as riders stretch their legs before the race proper begins.

    "City stages are always hotly contested and I have no doubt we'll see plenty of close fights to the finish as the peloton races through central Adelaide," Mr Turtur said.

    Down Under organisers are yet to announce the revised course for the final stage of the race, another city circuit, which needs to be moved due to a clash with a one day international cricket match between Australia and England at the Adelaide Oval. 

  • Norwegian cycling president: McQuaid should have resigned a long time ago

    UCI president Pat McQuaid answers a question during a press conference held during the UCI road world championships in Valkenburg.
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 9:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fireworks expected at European Cycling Union meeting

    Harald Tiedemann Hansen, president of Norwegian cycling and vice president of the European Cycling Union (UEC), believes that the current controversy surrounding allegations of corruption by UCI president Pat McQuaid is doing nothing for the sport.

    Tiedemann Hansen is critical of the campaign being run by McQuaid and candidate Brian Cookson, saying that more time has been spent talking about each other's faults rather than what can be done to improve cycling.

    "What puzzles me a bit is that he [McQuaid] must have known that this was going to happen," Tiedemann Hansen told procycling.no following the release of a summary report of alleged corruption. "Why has he not resigned long ago? Why is it that he fights so incredibly fierce? Had he resigned some time ago, people might not spent so much energy trying to get this to light."

    Tiedemann Hansen was in Norway for the last UCI Management Committee meeting, however was not present when the dossier on McQuaid was provided to delegates.

    "If there is truth in any of this, it is obviously very serious," he said. "I believe however that it is published evidence. It is not enough to make a number of accusations without finding out if this is true or not. The evidence, if any exists, must be submitted to the UCI ethics commission. It amazes me that it has not been done already. If you are not satisfied with the conclusion from there, you can then take the case to outside agencies."

    The UEC meets this weekend for an extraordinary congress where both McQuaid and Cookson will present their case for the upcoming election for UCI president.

    "I expect that there will be much debate around McQuaid and these accusations," explained Tiedemann Hansen. "I'm reasonably sure he's going to need a sledge-hammer to...

  • Nibali ready for final Vuelta showdown with Horner

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the finish of stage 15 at Peyragudes
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 10:18 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian convinced his form is good enough to secure victory

    Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) used the second rest day at the Vuelta a Espana to recover from the efforts of two weeks of intense racing, insisting that he still has the form to win the Vuelta, despite losing precious seconds to Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) on Monday's stage to Aramón Formigal.

    The Italian leads Horner by just 28 seconds as the racing resumes on Wednesday with a flat stage from Calahorra to Burgos.

    Nibali admitted he is producing between 15 and 20 watts less power than when he dominated the Giro d'Italia in May, after a more difficult preparation for the Vuelta. His Astana team is also not as strong or as experienced as in May, occasionally leaving Nibali exposed and isolated.

    "The truth is that I only lost a few seconds, it's not the end of the world," he told Gazzetta dello Sport during the rest day that saw him sleep in until 11:15.

    "Whatever happens, if I win or don’t win the Vuelta, this has been a great season, it's been unforgettable. And it's not over yet, there's still the worlds to come."

    Nibali's relaxed but focused temperament is one of the Sicilian's strengths during Grand Tours. He lost 21 seconds to Horner and several other overall rivals but has taken the blow on the chin and is confident he will not loose further time between now and the finish in Madrid on Sunday.

    "It was noting to worry about. It came after three days of hard racing in the Pyrenees, where the team had always been on the front and I'd always get to the hotel late because of the presentations, anti-doping controls and interviews. I needed to catch my breath and the second rest day was perfect," he claimed.

    "I also want to point out that my form has been...

  • Relationship with Riis is exceptional, says Contador

    Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at the start of the Brussels Cycling Classic
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 11:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Contador camp denies cover-up claims

    Alberto Contador has described his relationship with Saxo-Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis as “exceptional” and insisted that he is happy with the diet of one-day races that serves as his preparation for the world championships in Florence later this month.

    Rather than defend his Vuelta a España title, Contador’s September racing has been limited to the GP Ouest France, the Brussels Cycling Classic and the GP de Fourmies, and he will continue his Worlds build-up this weekend with the GP de Montréal and the GP de Québec.

    “My team has never ordered me to race here or there. I am free,” Contador told L’Équipe. “I have a special rapport with the Vuelta, but it’s equally important that some riders who sacrificed themselves for me in July can now play their personal cards.”

    While Nicolas Roche leads the line for Saxo-Tinkoff at the Vuelta, therefore, Contador has been racing in the unfamiliar confines of northern Europe as he steels himself for the Worlds. Recent history suggests that the road to the rainbow jersey tends to run through the Vuelta but Contador is hopeful that he can still be competitive on the tough Florence circuit.

    “Why am I here? Because I have ambitions for the world championships and, beyond that, the Tour of Lombardy,” Contador said. “It’s true that the Vuelta has shown itself to be the royal path to the Worlds, but it’s not impossible to be on top form by going a different way. It’s an unusual programme for me, with only one-day races, but the idea is to gain in power from next weekend in Canada so that I can be at my best...

  • Van Der Scheuren gathering sponsors for new Belgian ProConti team

    Hilaire Van Der Schueren is an assistant directeur sportif for Vacansoleil-DCM
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 12:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil DS said to have Leukemans lined up

    Veteran directeur sportif Hilaire Van Der Schueren is still looking for one million euros to complete the budget for a new Professional Continental team for 2014. The Vacansoleil-DCM sport director is reported to have Björn Leukemans lined up as his captain.

    The Dutchman had a recent meeting with a potential investor, whom he wouldn't publicly name. “I have learned to stand with both feet on the ground,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “The project won't stand or fall with him. But he would greatly facilitate the business.

    “To be very specific, I'm still looking for one million. A total budget of four million.” He is not worried about finding an equipment supplier. “Oh, there are plenty of bikes.”

    In the meantime, the 65-year-old is off to Canada to accompany Vacansoleil at the races in Quebec and Montreal.

    “When I get back from Canada, I give myself another week. By then it should be fix,” he said with optimism.

    Leukemans, meanwhile, is being coy about his future. “Who says that I don't have a new team?” he asked Sporza. “I don't need to ride for a WorldTour team. The big stage races aren't anything for me. One-day races are my thing.”

    Vacansoleil's ending “is the worst crisis I have experienced,” he said. “Some will have to stop riding. But I am not worried. I have already proved myself.”

  • Indurain: Rodriguez and Roche could strike lucky

    Miguel Indurain used his mastery against the clock to win both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in 1992.
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 13:40 BST
    By:
    Alasdair Fotheringham

    Spanish Grand Tour winner says Irishman “riding exceptionally bravely”

    Five times Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain says he feels that the Vuelta a España remains wide open as it reaches its decisive third week, but, interestingly, Spain’s greatest ever athlete says that Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) could yet “get an unexpected reward.”

    “In the front group of favourites any of the top riders could yet win,” Indurain told MARCA on Wednesday, “because there are some very hard stages left to come and Nibali, Horner and Valverde are watching each other closely.

    “So Purito and Roche, who are both riding exceptionally bravely – particularly the Irishman – could suddenly strike lucky any day.”

    Indurain recognises that general fatigue in what is probably the hardest Vuelta since the infamous 2009 edition is setting in, and that while the rest day will have been welcome for all “you can’t expect miracles [of recovery] to happen in a single day. The ‘bill’ for the [racing in the] Pyrenees is yet to arrive.”

    Indurain believes that the how Astana raced on the final climb of the final stage in the Pyrenees, forcing the pace on the ascent to Formigal with Jani Brajkovic, shows that “what happened to Nibali was only a bad day.”

    “If he was having more problems, his team wouldn’t have worked so hard,” Indurain reasoned, although others would argue that at times teams make a high pace to dissuade attacks at the front of the bunch when their leaders are actually in trouble.

    Rather than the Angliru, in any case, Indurain believes Peña Cabarga’s summit finish on Thursday could be the decisive climb of the race.

    “On the Angliru people will go into survival mode,” Indurain told MARCA....