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Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Date published:
September 07, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Wiggins pragmatic about hopes of Vuelta victory

    Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is enjoying life as British champion.
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 6:22 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Team Sky leader admits Cobo is strongest on the climbs

    Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) has admitted that it will be very difficult to gain time on Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMC) during the final stages of the Vuelta a Espana but knows that anything can happen in cycling, with a crash, a split in the peloton or a bad moment able to change the race.

    Wiggins lost time on the terribly steep climb of the Angliru on Sunday and is now third overall, 46 seconds behind Cobo, with teammate Chris Froome second overall at 20 seconds.

    "I think Cobo has proved he's strong and it's going to be very, very difficult to dislodge him," he told Cyclingnews in this video interview before the start of stage 16.

    "There are still five or six days left and anything can happen in cycling and it does. He's certainly the strongest on the climbs and so it's going to be difficult. But you've always got to look for an opportunity."

    Wednesday's 17th stage to Peña Cabarga ends with a six kilometre climb but Wiggins admits that Cobo and his Geox-TMC team should be able to defend the lead.

    "He's got a strong team and he's strong too, so it's difficult."

    Wiggins conceded that he is struggling to see the positive aspects of his Vuelta performance and a possible final place on the podium in Madrid. He wanted to win the Vuelta.

    "I'm own worst enemy sometimes and my biggest critic," he said. "I can't help feel deflated today. If someone had said I'd be lying third with five days to go, I'd have taken it, after having had an operation. But you get so into it and you concentrate on the here and now that you always want to win. And that makes it incredibly disappointing."
     

  • Breschel: I'm not ruling myself out yet

    Matti Breschel (Denmark) on the podium with his silver medal.
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 8:39 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider still tempted for ride in Copenhagen

    Matti Breschel’s World Championships participation may not be over after all. The Dane publicly stated last week that if he needed surgery on his left hand he would be not riding in Copenhagen, however he now appears to be having second thoughts. Speaking to Cykelmagasinet.dk he said that he's feeling better every day and that he still hopes to ride on September 25 - even if it’s just to carry the bidons.

    "I just cannot put it behind me," said Breschel. "I have so much love for the World Championships and for it to be on Danish soil - it’s just too hard to say it’s over."

    "I’m taking it day by day, and if I can continue to improve the way I have been, then I think I can ride. I know what it takes to be a contender at a world championship, and so I’m aware I won’t be able to win – not on this form."

    Breschel was second in last year’s world championships in Geelong but has had a lackluster 2011 season. The 27-year-old knows that despite his history, he still must prove himself to be in reasonable racing condition to warrant a selection from Danish National team director Lars Bonde.

    "I do have plenty of experience to offer, and hopefully when Lars Bonde makes his decision, that will be taken into account."

    "I know I will not have a position donated or reserved for me – I have to prove I’m going to be able to provide at least something. But if I am able to help others on the team, I absolutely put my hand up to race."

  • Wagner apologises for misdirection in Vuelta finale

    Robert Wagner over the moon with his national title
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 9:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Leopard Trek rider went right instead of left

    Robert Wagner of Leopard Trek has apologised for leading other riders astray in the finale of Tuesday's Vuelta a Espana stage in Haro. The German champion went the wrong way at the roundabout shortly before the finish line, with others following him.

    “i apoligies (sic) to all the riders behind me in the final...i'm just happy nobody crashed,” he tweeted. “of course the roadbook said left around.”

    He defended himself saying, “but I just followed the motorbike...it's not easy to stay clear/cool when you are on the limit and you can't even see the finish.”

    Wagner was leading out teammate Daniele Bennati for the sprint, when they came to the roundabout. The riders were to go left, while the right hand lane was open for the team cars and other vehicles to leave the route. Wagner however went to the right and with a few other riders had to turn around and go back. Most riders went the correct direction but in the confusion, many braked and lost momentum and position, and were thus not able to sprint for the win.

  • Porte signs for Sky

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank Sungard)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 10:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian arrives after two years at Saxo Bank-Sungard

    Richie Porte will join Team Sky for the 2012 season. The Tasmanian rider arrives at the squad after spending two seasons at Saxo Bank-Sungard.

    After an impressive debut season that saw him finish 7th overall in the Giro d’Italia, Porte was linked with a move away from Saxo Bank to Sky at the end of last year, but he opted to see out the remainder of his contract with Bjarne Riis’ team.

    “I'm really happy to have signed for Team Sky and cannot wait to see what next season will bring,” Porte said. “Ever since the launch of the team I've been really impressed with the way they go about their business and it'll be nice to be able to experience that first-hand now.

    “For riders like myself who are always looking to develop and improve, I don't think there's a better place to be - the coaching set up is absolutely top-notch and the way they look after their riders is also second to none.”

    Porte’s second season at Saxo Bank saw him deployed in the service of Alberto Contador at both the Giro and the Tour de France, but he continued to turn in a series of impressive performances against the clock throughout the season, notably on the final stage of the Giro and at the recent Tour of Denmark, where he won the individual time trial.

    “I had two great years at Saxo Bank-Sungard, and will be forever grateful to them for giving me my chance in the professional ranks, but am looking forward to opening this next chapter of my career now and hopefully taking things to another level,” Porte said.

    In spite of his exploits at the Giro in 2010, where he also wore pink and finished as...

  • Riis looks forward to beating new RadioShack/Leopard team

    Bjarne Riis has his say at a meeting of team bosses
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 10:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Riders claim to have known nothing beforehand

    Bjarne Riis of Saxo Bank-Sungard has professed himself to be “surprised” at the actions of teams Leopard Trek and RadioShack. The two teams announced on Monday evening that RadioShack will take over sponsorship of Leopard Trek, with the team to be called RadioShack-Nissan-Trek next year.

    "Like most people, I am surprised by the merger," Riis told sporten.tv2.dk. "But they must have their reasons, but I don't know what they are."

    RadioShack-Nissan-Trek will feature this year's second and third-placed Tour de France finishers, Andy and Fränk Schleck, as well as two-time Tour runner-up Andreas Klöden. Riis however does not believe that the team will be able to challenge Alberto Contador next year, and was looking forward to the coming season.

    "It will be fun to beat them. That's how I see it. I still have the best man."

    A number of riders on the Leopard Trek team initially came from SaxoBank and with the merger of the two teams leaving some riders looking for contracts Riis did not rule out the possibility of re-hiring some of his old riders and staff.

    Team members' reactions

    The situation is somewhat confusing, however, as a number of riders affirmed that they have two-year deals and do not intend to move. Like many others, Joost Posthuma of Leopard Trek learned of the actions through the initial press release and having had no communication from the team is still in the dark on what his future may be.

    "I know nothing, the only thing I know for sure is that I'm signed through 2012 with Leopard Trek," he said on his website. “I expect to ride with this team next year. For the rest I stand with my back against the wall and I can only...

  • Martin looking for another mountain win at the Vuelta

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) faded
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 11:05 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin-Cervélo climber targets the finish on Peña Cabarga

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) is targeting a second Vuelta a España stage victory today, as the race tackles the final mountain finish in Peña Cabarga in the northern Cantabria region.

    The 6.1km has an average gradient of 8.9% with a steep middle section and then an even harder ramp up to the finish line. The climb is close to race leader Juan José Cobo's home but Martin is looking to steal the limelight from the Vuelta leader.

    "The climb really suits me," Martin told Cyclingnews. "Rest days always do me good. I'm usually average the first day back racing but then I'm usually really good. So I hope do a good race, get to bottom of the climb at the front and be up there at the finish. I've got the legs at the moment."

    Martin won stage nine on the summit finish of La Covatilla with an aggressive ride on the climb. He had hoped to challenge on the more exacting Angliru but admits he chose too hard a gear for the steep climb. He finished eleventh on the Angliru, 1:41 down on Cobo.

    "The Angliru surprised me a bit. I felt good but I made a mistake with the gear," he said. “I thought 34x28 would be enough but it turns out the other guys like Brad Wiggins, had a 32. That's why they could spin the legs. I felt good on the lower parts but on the steepest parts I stopped dead and that's where they dropped me."

    Martin is 15th overall, 6:47 behind Cobo and is pleased with the consistency of his overall performance.

    "It's a pity I wasn't up there on the Angliru but it proves I've got the legs after a hard 15 days of racing," he pointed out.

    "People are saying this is an extremely hard grand tour because of we've had to be on it every day. In the past my weakness in grand tours has been the...

  • Garcia discusses doping at 2010 Vuelta

    Kisses for the stage winner David Garcia Dapena (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 12:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Retired Xacobeo Galicia rider calls it “biggest mistake of my life”

    David Garcia Dapena has called his doping during last year's Vuelta a Espana “the biggest mistake of my life.” The former Xacobeo Galicia rider confessed to having used an illegal product and explained the circumstances, saying that he was worried about obtaining a contract for the next season.

    Garcia, 33 and now retired from cycling, tested positive for EPO and Hydroxyethyl Starch in doping controls after two separate stages of the 2010 Vuelta. He was given a two-year suspension. The team stopped operations at the end of the season due to a lack of funding.

    “I did not know what product I was taking, but I was aware that I was doping,” he told La Voz de Galicia. He did it out of ambition and uncertainty. “I had no offer for 2011. The meetings prior to the Vuelta with team officials on the continuation of Xacobeo were not encouraging, quite the contrary. And all that led me to make a wrong decision to give the worst possible ending to my career.”

    Garcia claimed that he was not really sure what he took. “I turned to a coach outside the team, who sold me the product, which he said was undetectable and would improve my performance. After days of doubt, I decided to use it. But I did not know it was EPO.” He refused to provide the name of the person who provided him with the drug.

    There was “no organised doping at Xacobeo,” Garcia insisted. “There was a zero tolerance policy. No one at Xacobeo encouraged me to do what I did. It was a personal decision. (Team manager) Alvaro Pino was always sharp on this issue. But neither he nor anyone else can control...

  • Nygaard already gone from Leopard Trek

    Brian Nygaard - manager of Leopard Trek
    Article published:
    September 07, 2011, 15:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    General Manager moves out after team structure changes

    Leopard Trek has confirmed that Brian Nygaard is leaving the team, effective immediately. The Dane had been General Manager of the team and was instrumental in establishing the team.

    Leopard Trek will run next year under the name RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, as the management and sponsors from the current Team RadioShack will move over to the Luxembourg team. In a statement released Wednesday, the team said that Nygaard “will leave the management role to the new structure of the team,” and referred to him as the “now former General Manager.”

    “I’m proud to have been part of building up a new team in cycling and I’m happy for the experience it has given me. I wish the project best of luck going onwards,” Nygaard said. “Personally, I would like to thank the riders and the staff for giving their best to this team”.

    It has been rumoured that Nygaard will join the new Australian GreenEdge team as press spokesman.