Worlds Shorts: Degenkolb fit to race, Dowsett extends with Movistar

Sagan “good but not very good” ahead of Worlds road race

Ever since the Ponferrada course was unveiled, Peter Sagan has been listed among the principal favourites for victory, but an underwhelming outing at the Vuelta a España means that his form is something of a mystery as the big day approaches.

The Slovak showed signs of life at the Coppa Bernocchi last week, however, where he led out teammate Elia Viviani for victory, and he was generous in his efforts in Sunday’s team time trial, which was likely to have been his final race in the lime green of Cannondale. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Sagan was playing his cards very close to his chest ahead of the main event at the weekend.

“I don’t know. It was good but it was not very good,” Sagan said of his post-Vuelta form. “I don’t know this year, we will see.”

Sagan did not reconnoitre the Ponferrrada course earlier in the season, but like Fabian Cancellara, he will remain in north-western Spain in the week leading up to the road race. “I haven’t seen the road course, I will see this week,” he said, before downplaying the notion that the parcours is perfectly-suited to his skill set. “We will see, I don’t know.”

Degenkolb to ride World Championships

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) has been released from hospital in Frankfurt and is heading to Spain to ride the Elite Men’s Road Race on Sunday.

“John will travel to Ponferrada tomorrow. His blood values have stabilized and he really wants to try it, even though he will surely no longer be a top favourite after this,” his manager Jörg Werner told Cyclingnews on Monday morning.

The German, who won four stages and the points jersey at the Vuelta a Espana, was hospitalized last week after lymph nodes in his groin became infected following a crash in the Vuelta. He was reportedly treated with intravenous antibiotics after one of the wounds he sustained early in the Vuelta became infected.

Dowsett stays with Movistar until 2017

The Movistar team has announced that Britain's Alex Dowsett will stay with the Spanish team for the next three seasons.

The 25-year-old secured his future with an excellent series of results during the 2014 season after winning the time trial at the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Dowsett took two victories in 2014: the time trial stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe, which he led for one stage, and won gold in the Commonwealth Games time trial in Glasgow.

He also spent a day in the leader's yellow jersey, after a brave attack at the Tour of Britain on stage six to Hemel Hempstead. He described his attack as his ‘hardest day on a bike ever.’

Dowsett represents Great Britain in the Elite Men's time trial along side Bradley Wiggins on Wednesday at the World Championships in Ponferrada.

He celebrated the news of his new contract with a light-hearted but happy tweet: “3more years with @Movistar_Team, will be fluent in Spanish by 2017! #happyaslarry"

Cyclo-cross season kicks off and Vantornout strikes first in Belgium

The World Championships are only just underway in Ponferrada, Spain but the cyclo-cross season has already begun in Belgium, with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), winning the Steebnerg Cross in Erpe-Mere ahead of Belgian champion Sven Nys and Germany's Philipp Walsleben.

The Belgian appeared the handle the wet conditions better than his rivals and opened a significant gap mid-stage that the other riders were unable to close. Nys finished 13 second down after returning from Las Vegas just a few days before the race, with Walsleben third at 16 seconds.

Kreuziger awaiting biological passport verdict from Czech Olympic Committee

The Czech Olympic Committee is expected to issue its verdict on Roman Kreuziger's UCI Biological Passport violation today, with the Tinkoff-Saxo rider risking a lengthy ban if he is found guilty.

Kreuziger has insisted he is innocent ever since he was first contacted by the UCI on the eve of the 2013 Tour de France. The anti-doping investigators had concerns over fluctuations in his biological passport values between March 2011 and August 2011, and between April 2012 through to the end of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.

At the time, Kreuziger rode for the Astana but made the switch to Tinkoff-Saxo at the start of the 2013 season. He was due to start this year's Tour de France but with the UCI's Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CAFD) opening a formal case against him, the team opted to not select him for the Tour de France. The UCI suspended Kreuziger on the eve of the Tour of Poland and he lost an appeal to CAS and so missed the Vuelta a Espana.

His hearing with the Czech Olympic Committee was held on September 11, with the Arbitration Commission indicating a verdict would be issued on September 22. Both Kreuziger and the UCI can appeal the the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if they do not agree with the decision.

Van Vleuten heads home after TTT crash

Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv Women’s Cycling) will travel back to her home in the Netherlands today as she looks to recover from a calf injury. The Dutch team had already confirmed that Van Vleuten would skip the individual time trial on Wednesday, but it is now clear that she will miss the road race also.

The 31-year-old was leading Rabo-Liv through a right-hand bend during the team time trial on Sunday, when she clipped the feet of the crowd barriers. The resulting crash took out almost her whole team – minus Marianne Vos, who had already been dropped. Van Vleuten was left with an injured calf, while Anna van der Breggen broke her iliac bone and remains in hospital.

Sunday was Van Vleuten’s final race with the Rabo-Liv team, as she is set to ride for the Swiss Bigla team in 2015.

Van Vleuten’s return home will be a big blow to Vos, who is attempting to take her third consecutive World title, and fourth in total. Giant-Shimano’s Amy Pieters will replace her in the line-up.

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