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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Date published:
September 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Bennati still hunting for Vuelta stage win

    Daniele Bennati (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 1:35 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Yet another third placing for the Italian

    Italian rider Daniele Bennati was a frustrated third at the end of the Vuelta a España’s 15th stage, being beaten by both André Greipel (Columbia HTC) and William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) in the mass gallop to the line in Puertollano. It completed a frustrating hat-trick of such placings for the Liquigas sprinter, who was also third on stages five and six. His last win was the overall classification of the Giro di Sardegna back in February.

    “I am very saddened by yet another [minor] place gathered in this Vuelta,” he said. “My condition is not bad but unfortunately, because of situations that are created in the final part of the stage, I am not able to exploit it properly.

    “Today, thanks to the support of the team, I felt that it could be a good time to rectify that,” he said. “But in the final metres, the work of the Columbia team ensured that I stayed on the wheel of Henderson with Greipel behind me. When I jumped the sprint was into a headwind and he had little problem in coming around me.”

    Bennati said that he believes today’s 17th stage, plus the concluding leg of the race in Madrid, both offered chances to him. “I have a great desire to prove who is the real Bennati and break this bad luck,” he said.

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  • Fuglsang psyched to try again at Vuelta

    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) grits his teeth
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 2:34 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Second leaves Dane hungry for Grand Tour win

    Beaten only by a very strong Damiano Cunego (Lampre) on the mountain stage to La Pandera, Saxo Bank’s Grand Tour debutant Jakob Fuglsang is picking the right moment to go on the attack once again.

    “I will try to take it a little bit easy, and then maybe see about doing something on one of the two mountain stages,” he said. “Maybe the day to Avila, as that is the easier of the two mountains stages. I’m motivated by the second place I got on the stage - it showed that the breakaway can stay away, and also that I still have good condition to climb.

    “Cunego and I were the only ones to stay away from the breakaway,” he added. “That was really nice to see. I knew when I got into the move that it would be difficult to beat him as he could maybe have won if he was in the peloton for the whole day. He’s very strong. Because of that, I am satisfied with second place. Now we will see how it goes and I’ll give it a try for the stage win.”

    Like many of the riders in the race, Fuglsang is feeling moments of deep fatigue in this third week of the Vuelta. However, perhaps because the race has been on flatter terrain for the past two stages, he said that he is feeling better than before. “Three days ago I was more tired,” he said. “I was completely f***ed. Now I actually feel better, I have got into the rhythm. But you never know – it can change really fast from one day to another…you get so tired.”

    The 24-year-old has had a strong first season with Saxo Bank, winning the Tour of Denmark for the second year running and also placing sixth in both the Dauphiné Libéré and the Volta a Catalunya. He’s clearly a big name for the future, but realises that he has to gauge his effort in the three week races.

    “If I’m not trying for a stage, my plan is to just take it easy and don’t kill myself by doing...

  • Wiggins out of Britain to focus on worlds

    Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) stopped the clock in fourth place.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 5:20 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Time trial medal the aim

    British rider Bradley Wiggins has withdrawn from his home Tour, with the Garmin-Slipstream rider adopting a cautious approach leading in to this month’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships. Wiggins endured a big day in the saddle on the Tour of Britain’s stage four, with the rider playing a key part in pulling back a threatening breakaway.

    "It's just over a week to the world championships and I don't want to take any risks," he told "I've got to keep the bigger picture in perspective and save my mental energy for one last big effort.

    "I'm riding well and when I'm like that I can't resist riding hard and today I did 50km on the front," he added. "But I could end up going too hard and not have anything left for the world championships. The Tour of Britain is a hard race and you can't take things for granted.”

    Wiggins is confident heading in to the worlds, to be held in Switzerland, with the rider confident over his chances of a podium finish. Wiggins isn’t, however, as convinced that it will be a gold medal, knowing that the home town favourite will be difficult to beat.

    “I’m doing everything right with my build-up because I really do believe I can get a medal,” said Wiggins. "I say a medal because I don't want to say I can beat Fabian Cancellara. He's the undoubted favourite.

    "But everybody is beatable and I'll just try and do my best ride on the day,” he added. “We'll see what happens. I've said all year that I want a medal because it'll top off a great season for me. Of course, I won't say no to the win and the world title, either."

    Wiggins has joined Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen in lashing out at anti-cyclist comments made motoring writer James Martin. Both riders were outraged at the writer’s comments and made their feelings known via Twitter.

    "James Martin TV chef. The word cock springs to mind, stick...

  • Dempster aiming for Tasmania success after tough season

    South's Zakkari Dempster took stage 1, Wes Sulzberger and Cameron Meyer doubled on day two
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 5:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Bendigo rider searching for a stage victory

    Last year’s Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic winner Zak Dempster is hoping to turn around a has “tumultuous year” of heartache at this month’s Tour of Tasmania. The Bendigo rider signed with Bulgarian-registered outfit Bourgos for 2009, but things went downhill when Dempster was sidelined for six weeks with intestinal problems after the Tour of Turkey in May after which his team went broke.

    “It’s been a tumultuous year, for sure, but I am really thankful for the experience,” he said. “It has not been smooth sailing but at least I have come out of it still riding my bike.

    “I’m desperate to put my hands up in the air and win some stages of the Tassie Tour,” he added. “I really need the feeling of actually winning something.”

    Despite the problems with his outfit Dempster has contested 72 races so far in 2009. He was thrown a lifeline by Drapac-Porsche team owner Michael Drapac in July and finished fifth overall, with two stage placings, in Japan’s Tour of Hokkaido earlier this month.

    Dempster will have current Australian road champion Peter McDonald and former Victorian 200km titleholder Stuart Shaw in his seven-man contingent for Tasmania.

    “The course doesn’t overly faze me. It’s important that we get team success and I am climbing better than I usually do,” he said. “Peter McDonald climbs as good as anyone in Australia so our team should be in a strong position for general classification.”

    The Tour of Tasmania starts in unusual fashion on September 29, with a 32km East Devonport criterium, starting from the vehicle deck on the ship Spirit of Tasmania. The race runs through to October 4.

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  • Roulston leads New Zealand’s worlds roster

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) finishes ahead of Hayden Roulston (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 5:57 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Sprinters stay away from Switzerland's hilly course

    Cervelo Test Team’s Hayden Roulston will spearhead New Zealand’s squad for this month’s International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships in Switzerland. Top New Zealand cyclists Julian Dean and Greg Henderson won’t be part of the squad, with the hilly Mendrisio course not suited to their sprinting abilities.

    Roulston will be joined by United States of America-based Jeremy Vennell and Francais de Jeux rider Tim Gudsell. Vennell will be the nation’s solo representative in the elite men’s time trial.

    “This is another really tough circuit for the world championships, not dissimilar to the hilly course in Stuttgart in 2007,” said BikeNZ High Performance Director Mark Elliott. “We have great quality in our teams, especially the women, but it is a very tough assignment for them in this type of terrain against the best professionals in the world racing in their own backyard.

    “We have some strong riders, many of whom have been racing well this season in key support roles for professional teams,” he added.

    The women’s team will be led by Catherine Cheatley, who has enjoyed an excellent season for her Colavita Sutter Home. Auckland’s Kaytee Boyd, a former mountain biker and track rider, and Wellington’s Rachel Mercer will join Cheatley, as Beijing Olympian Jo Kiesanowski skips the event to focus on track preparation.

    New Zealand’s UCI World Road Championships squad:
    Elite men
    Road race:
    Hayden Roulston, Jeremy Vennell and Tim Gudsell.
    Time trial: Jeremy Vennell.

    Elite women
    Road race:
    Catherine Cheatley, Kaytee Boyd and Rachel Mercer.

    Under-23 men
    Road race:
    Sam Bewley, Alex Meenhorst and Clinton Avery.
    Time trial: Jesse Sergent and Wes Gough.

  • Kirsipuu joins LeTua for Herald Sun Tour

    Veteran Jan Kirsipuu waits for the start of the road race.
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 6:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Tour stage winner teams with Malaysian outfit

    Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, a Tour de France stage winner, will contest next month’s Jayco Herald Sun Tour, the race’s organiser has announced. Kirsipuu retired from professional cycling in 2006 but after spending last year managing Latvian team Rietumu Banka – Riga the rider returned to the saddle this year.

    Kirsipuu will join small Malaysian squad LeTua for the Australian race, where he will be teamed with former junior world champion Jeremy Yates of New Zealand. Kirsipuu has contested many races throughout 2009, taking stage wins at Tour du Cameroun, Tour du Maroc and FBD Insurance Ras. During his two years away from professional riding, Kirsipuu claimed the Estonian Time Trial Championship in 2007 then the road race title in 2008.

    Malaysia’s national cycling program has strong ties with Australia, with its program based in Melbourne under the guidance of John Beasley. Beasley hopes that their recent international success, which included two Track World Championship medals, would result in road successes over coming years.

    “Our guys have come a long way in the past four years on the track, but they’ve still got a fair way to go on the road. We’re in a development phase and they’ll all learn a lot from Jaan – what it takes to be a pro, the way he rides and more importantly, how he prepares for each day,” Beasley said. “If they can all broaden their base, we’ll be happy.

    “It has taken the track team about four years to be competitive on the big stage so we’re hoping to be on the same schedule on the road,” he added. “I’m sure Jaan will help us out with that.”

    The 2009 Jayco Herald Sun Tour will run from October 11 to 17.

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  • Worlds 2012: Genova versus Maastricht

    National teams race in Varese, Italy, host of the 2008 Worlds
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 11:43 BST
    Gregor Brown

    UCI to name 2012 World Championship host city next week

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) will announce the 2012 World Championships host city next Wednesday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Dutch city Maastricht and Italy's Genova have the upper hand, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    The UCI has three cities to choose from: Maastricht, Genova and Hoogleide, Belgium.

    The main obstacle for Genova is that Italy has hosted four Worlds in the last 15 years (Agrigento 1994, Verona 1999 and 2004, Varese 2008). The Netherlands has hosted one, in Valkenburg, where Oscar Camenzind was crowned the 1998 World Champion. Valkenburg, on Maastricht's outskirts, is the proposed site of the 2012 Worlds and site of the annual one-day Classic, Amstel Gold.

    Genova have proposed a demanding city course, according to La Gazzetta. In addition to its bid for the 2012 World Championships, the Italian port city has already requested to host stages of the 2011 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

    If Genova fails to win Worlds host city rights, it will request again for 2013. Italy's Firenze (Florence) has already announced last December, its candidature for 2013.

    The format of the Worlds will change in 2012, with races from Sunday to Sunday, according to La Gazzetta. It will start with team time trials open to the best 15 to 20 amateur clubs and it will welcome back junior level races.

    The juniors raced for their track and road titles last month in Moscow. The last time they raced at the same venue as the elite riders was in 2004.

    The next two seasons present World Championships suited to sprinters: Melbourne, Australia, in 2010 and Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2011.

    This year's Worlds starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday in Mendrisio. It last hosted the Worlds in 1971, when Belgium's Eddy Merckx beat Italy's Felice Gimondi.

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  • Ballan returns home, last day in Worlds' rainbow jersey

    Alessandro Ballan wins his only race as World Champion, in the Tour de Pologne August 6
    Article published:
    September 16, 2009, 12:34 BST
    Gregor Brown

    World Champ Alessandro Ballan in Italy after Vuelta, last day in rainbow jersey

    Alessandro Ballan trains in Italy today after racing his last day in the rainbow jersey of World Champion on Tuesday at the Vuelta a España. He and Lampre teammate Damiano Cunego, winner of two stages, left the race after stage 16 to Puertollano.

    Ballan said he that his emotions were high for the final day in the jersey he won in Varese, Italy, September 28. "It's the last time [I will race in this jersey]," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Of course, who's to say I can't win it again?"

    He and Cunego planned their departure early to ready themselves to lead Italy's nine-man team in Mendrisio, Switzerland, next Sunday. Italy and Spain are favourites on the 262.2-kilometre course with 4655 metres of climbing.

    "I trained well [at the Vuelta], although I missed out on a stage win," said Ballan.

    A virus forced him to miss much of the early season this year. He won a stage and the overall at the Tour de Pologne earlier this month. It was his only race win in the World Champion rainbow jersey.

    "I wanted to do more, but it doesn't always work out that way. In six years of being a pro [I have been lucky,] I have never even had the flu."

    Ballan gave his last rainbow jersey to his masseur, Fabio Della Torre. His first one, which he took on the podium in Varese, is at home next to his 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen trophy.

    Ballan will leave Lampre at the end of this season. He signed last month with BMC Racing Team and will ride with the US-registered Pro Continental team for the next two seasons.

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