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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Date published:
September 23, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Spanish move Valverde out of Italy

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Eparge)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 12:53 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Spain's Worlds favourite to use Lugano as base during Championships

    Having stated on Tuesday that Alejandro Valverde would be staying in the same Italian hotel in Como as the rest of the Spanish team at the Mendrisio Worlds, it has since been revealed that Valverde will not be spending his nights sleeping in Italy.

    According to Spanish newspaper AS, Lugano's Villa Sassa, which is on Swiss soil, close to the Worlds course, has received calls "from a national team asking for rooms". Although it is unlikely that Spain will move all of its team from their current lodgings in Como, it has confirmed Valverde will definitely not be staying there.

    That decision stems both from the ban imposed on Valverde by the Italian Olympic Committee from competing in Italy and the criticism aimed at him on Tuesday by the Italian president of the ProTour, Vittorio Adorni. He stated that the fact Valverde is still racing after being banned in Italy is "shameful and disturbing".

    Adorni had also said he would be asking International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid to ban Valverde from taking part at the Worlds based on his alleged involvement in the Operación Puerto affair. However, Spanish cycling federation president Juan Carlos Castaño insists this will not happen.

    "I met with Pat McQuaid yesterday and he assured me that until the Court of Arbitration for Sport resolves the case pending over Valverde the UCI will not be taking action against him," Castaño told AS.

    Asked about Adorni, Valverde said: "Me, a stain? I don’t know who the stain is at these Championships. I think there are others and they need to be pointed out." Then pressed on his ban from racing in Italy, he added: "I am prohibited from racing in Italy, but I can come here on holiday, go to a hotel or wherever I want."

    It seems unlikely, though, that Valverde will be holidaying in...

  • Cavendish withdraws from British Worlds team

    Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia – HTC) rolls toward the start line on stage one
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 14:22 BST
    Richard Moore

    Stannard to replace Cavendish in nine-man line-up

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) has withdrawn from the British team for Sunday’s world championship road race in Mendrisio. The 24-year old has failed to recover from the illness that forced him to pull out of the recent Tour of Missouri, after winning the opening two stages, and has decided to remain at his Italian base in Quaratta.

    Ian Stannard (ISD-Neri) has been named in the nine-man British team instead of Cavendish. Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) and Chris Froome (Barloworld) will contest Thursday’s time trial, with Wiggins also opting out of the road race.

    Jonny Bellis, the British rider who is also based in Quaratta – and a friend of Cavendish’s from the Isle of Man – remains in a stable condition in hospital following his motor scooter crash on Friday.

    The full British team for the road race is: Stephen Cummings (Barloworld), Russ Downing (Candi-TV-Marshalls Pasta), Chris Froome (Barloworld), Roger Hammond (Cervélo Test Team), Dan Lloyd (Cervélo Test Team), David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream), Ian Stannard (ISD-Neri), Ben Swift (Team Katusha) and Geraint Thomas (Barloworld).

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  • Bobridge sheds the pounds for World title

    Jack Bobridge (Australia) flying on his way to the Under-23 World time trial title
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 14:49 BST
    Richard Moore

    Emotional Under-23 Worlds time trial winner excited about his future

    Jack Bobridge was an emotional winner of the men’s Under-23 World time trial Championship. The 20-year old Australian, who will ride for Garmin-Slipstream in 2010, revealed afterwards that his tearful reaction owed to there being "quite a bit of pressure" on him before the race.

    The reason? A break back home in Australia in July that lasted "probably a week more than it should have done," and resulted in Bobridge returning to Europe "five or six kilograms" overweight.

    "There’s been quite a bit of pressure from the Australian side of things," said Bobridge, whose win maintained his 100% record in time trials this season: he has ridden three, won three, including the Australian championship.

    "I did have a break in July and I probably had a little more time off than I should have," he said. "When I got back to Europe there were doubts in my head whether I’d make it in time. But the last two months it’s all fallen into place. To know I’ve done the work, the hard yards, and to get here and take [the title], it was quite emotional.

    "My first few races back in Europe were pretty interesting," added Bobridge with a smile. "But I managed to lose the weight. It was 5-6kg [so] I’ve had to watch what I’ve been eating. The gelato shop across the road [Bobridge is based with the Cycling Australia squad, Team Jayco-AIS, in Castronno, Italy] doesn’t help, but everyone’s been very supportive. This past week I freshened up and today I really nailed my form."

    The time trial win is Bobridge’s third world title, but his first on the road, and as an individual. He was a member of the Australian team pursuit quartet that won gold in the junior Worlds in 2006 and 2007, and he admitted that his main focus, for the next three seasons at least, will remain on the track.

    His decision to sign for Garmin-Slipstream – who announced a partnership with Cycling Australia in...

  • Hoogerland confident ahead of Worlds debut

    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 16:48 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Vuelta sets young Dutch team up for strong showing in Mendrisio

    Fresh from 12th place overall at the Vuelta a España, Johnny Hoogerland is confident that the Dutch team can be a force at this week's World Championship road race on Sunday in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Hoogerland will race alongside Robert Gesink, Karsten Kroon, Lars Boom, Sebastian Langeveld and Koos Moerenhout in Sunday's road race. Hoogerland, who will make his World Championship debut in the race, told Cyclingnews that the Vuelta had set him up well for the Worlds.

    "Those that did the Vuelta will have a big advantage at [this year's Worlds] because the it was a very hard Grand Tour. It's true what they say; you have to do the Vuelta if you want to do well at the Worlds."

    Recovering at home in the Netherlands this week, Hoogerland said he expects to ride in support of Robert Gesink and Karsten Kroon in Mendrisio. "I feel good, I just need this week to rest," he said. "We arrive in Switzerland on Thursday and will I would expect that Robert Gesink and Karsten will be the men for the finale, and the other four of us will be there to help them."

    Hoogerland said that he had spoken to Gesink, who has recovered well from a knee injury sustained on stage 17 of the Vuelta. "It was better, he said. He had a really bad day and lost all that time, but the next day his time trial was very, very good; an incredible recovery. I hope that he is going well on Sunday, because he can be someone who can win the race."

    Both Hoogerland, 26, and Gesink, 23, are part of a young breed of riders who are quickly coming to represent the future of Dutch cycling. Although the traditionally strong cycling nation has only qualified six riders for this year's Elite road race, with an average age of 27 the Dutch Worlds team is a sign that the opportunity has been taken to test the country's younger riders.

    Hoogerland believes that the reduced representation may be an advantage on the tough Mendrisio course. "I spoke to Karsten...

  • Roberts signs on with Milram for 2010

    Australia rider Luke Roberts is popular in Germany.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 17:25 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Australian to return to ProTour after signing one-year deal

    Luke Roberts will return to ProTour competition in 2010 after signing a one-year contract with Milram. Roberts has been recruited by the German squad in order to bolster their Classics roster and to provide support for the team's sprinters.

    "I am very happy to have the chance to start next year in the ProTour with Team Milram," said Roberts. "I especially want to use my experience in the Spring Classics and I am sure that I can help the sprinters in the team."

    Milram will be Roberts' third German team, after starting his career with ComNet-Senges in 2002. The 32-year-old Australian has been spent the past two seasons with the Continental team Kuota-Indeland. Prior to that, he raced for three years with Danish ProTour squad CSC.

    A winner of an Olympic gold medal in the team pursuit in 2004, Roberts raced the Tour de France with CSC in 2005 and has also a number of victories on the road. He has taken stage wins at the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, Drei-Länder Tour and last year at South Africa's Giro del Capo.

    "We have hired a very versatile pro in Luke Roberts," said Milram Sports Director Raoul Liebregts. "He is an option for the difficult one-day spring races. He is also willing to do the important support work; especially in the lead-outs for Gerald Ciolek."

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  • Louder to miss Worlds road race due to flu

    Jeff Louder (BMC) driving the pace on the front of the break.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 18:35 BST
    Cycling News

    America's Jeff Louder diagnosed with H1N1 virus

    Jeff Louder (BMC Racing Team) has withdrawn from the US team for Sunday's world championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The 31-year-old Utah native is suffering from an illness which has cautiously been diagnosed as the H1N1 flu virus, his team announced on Tuesday.

    "I haven't been feeling well and saw Dr. Testa on Monday," said Louder. "Based on my condition and symptoms he diagnosed H1N1 and advised against training, racing and travelling.

    "This pretty much puts an end to my season. I am not on my death bed but am definitely not in a way that would do the race, myself or the team any good. I'm pretty bummed. All I can do is recover and rest for next season I guess."

    Louder had won this year's Redlands Classic, finished third at the both the Tour of Utah and the US national road championships and was gearing up for the second elite world championship of his career.

    Louder's replacement for Sunday's road race has not yet been named.

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  • Radical changes for 2012 World Championships

    As part of the UCI's revamped Worlds format, professional trade teams such as Saxo Bank will compete in a team time trial.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 18:40 BST
    Richard Moore

    Limburg to host expanded Championships, team time trial to be re-introduced

    In awarding the 2012 World Road Championships to the Dutch province of Limburg, Pat McQuaid, the International Cycling Union (UCI) president, announced radical changes to the Championship format.

    The programme is to be nearly doubled in length, from five to nine days, and span two weekends. A team time trial is to be re-introduced and junior events are to be incorporated. Each change is, in its own way, significant, but it is the re-introduction of a team time trial, albeit in a vastly different form, that is the headline-grabber.

    Previously contested by national teams of four, it will now feature trade teams of a yet-to-be-determined number. Speaking in Mendrisio on Wednesday evening, McQuaid said that teams could be "could be six, seven or eight"-strong. As for qualification, teams will be selected according to a "system based on results," though McQuaid added that, in line with the UCI’s "policy of globalising cycling, there will be a global aspect to [selection], so that it’s not just European teams."

    With the new-look world championships to get underway on the Saturday with an opening ceremony, the team time trial will be the first event, on Sunday. As the UCI calendar stands, it could create a clash with the final day of the Vuelta a España.

    "We will study a new calendar to avoid clashes," said Philippe Chevaliar, the UCI road coordinator. "Teams should be able to compete in the Vuelta and the team time trial, but we will do what we can to avoid [a conflict]."

    McQuaid added that the team time trial, until it was dropped in 1993 and replaced by the individual time trial, "became an event dominated by equipment and run on a highway, out-and-back. What we’re hoping to do is introduce a team time trial for trade teams run on normal roads or a circuit, to be a more spectacular televisual event, similar to what you’d see on one of the stages of the major tours."

    McQuaid denied that...

  • Tuft at ease ahead of Worlds silver medal defence

    Canadian time trial champion Svein Tuft (Garmin-Slipstream).
    Article published:
    September 23, 2009, 19:01 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Canadian Svein Tuft takes low-key approach year after Worlds silver medal

    Canada's Svein Tuft is at ease with himself ahead of tomorrow's World Championship time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland, one year on from his silver medal in Varese.

    "I have a pretty low-key approach," he told Cyclingnews. "I know you are only capable of what you are on the day and there's not much you can do to change it, I don't stress over it. Certain days you can push yourself harder, but you normally you are what you are."

    Tuft signed with top-level team Garmin-Slipstream prior to winning a silver medal behind Bert Grabsch (Germany) last year at the Worlds in Varese, Italy. He went on to ride a full season of European races this year, including the Eneco Tour and Vuelta a España in the last month.

    "I feel like I have done some good work and built up to this day properly, plus I've rested well in the last days. I am looking forward to tomorrow, but it is hard to say what I will be capable of."

    The time trial covers three 16.6-kilometre circuits for 49.8 kilometres. The 650-metre long Rancate, with sections of 10 percent, features each circuit.

    Tuft has tailored his expectations with the return of two-time World Champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland). Cancellara skipped Worlds last year after winning the Olympic time trial and taking bronze in the Olympic road race.

    This year Cancellara wants to win the Worlds time trial and the road race three days later. Tuft thinks his dual focus will not distract from his abilities in the time trial.

    "I think that guy can lay it all on the time trial and still do what he is hoping to do in the road race. The Olympics is a good example, he was not affected and took a gold and bronze."

    Tuft will also race the road race on Sunday. It is part of the conclusion to what has been his first season racing cycling's most important races.

    "This year's been a huge learning curve for me, but I feel like I am getting on top of it and I am adapting. I am...