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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Latest Cycling News, August 18, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Feedback given to UCI world cycling calendar announcement

Pat McQuaid and the UCI try to get past the ProTour problems by announcing a world calendar
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
(Click for larger image)

Following the announcement that the UCI and EPA (Editions Philippe Amaury, the owner of ASO and Société du Tour de France) had had discussions about the future of world cycling and that the governing body would introduce a new structure to try to solve ongoing political divisions in the sport, Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes gathered some initial reactions to the news.

Gerolsteiner's Hans-Michael Holczer has been heavily involved in discussions between teams and the other parties, and said that the initial signs were encouraging. However he stated that it was too early to give a definitive reaction. "The teams put a lot of pressure, starting the initiative to solve the problem," he said. "But now, I am still waiting for something like a contract for more details. Right now, I don't have the position of the organisers to see exactly what it all means. So I won't make much comment on this.

"However what I will say is that it seems to be pretty interesting. I find a lot of proposals in there that the teams [previously] made to the UCI, and something of the contract we signed with the organisers. A lot of the ideas that we had are there, but before giving a final comment on that, I think we should see the details of what has been signed between ASO, the organisers and the UCI. Then we can give [proper] comments on it."

Fellow ProTour team manager Gerry van Gerwen (Milram) also gave a tentative thumbs up, while stating that he is waiting for more details to emerge before knowing how significant the news is.

"I saw the press release this morning, and I saw the letter from [Pat] McQuaid to the teams," he said. "I have a lot of questions, of course, and I think everyone has. But that will come later.

"My first reaction is that it is great that they have talked with each other, and that there is something like an agreement. But I saw no specific reaction from ASO in that press release. That was a little bit strange…it was only a message from the UCI. There is no statement in it from ASO, so I am waiting for that."

Read the full feature.

Great Britain's team pursuit with gold and world record ride

Great Britain smashed the world record by almost two seconds
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Great Britain blasted out another incredible performance to win the gold medal in the team pursuit at the Beijing Olympics. The 3'53"314 not only secured the gold for Great Britain. It also was another world record, besting its previous own best of 3'55"202. The latter was set by the same team yesterday in the first round.

Great Britain beat Denmark in the final, which surprisingly made it to the gold medal run instead of Australia. The British team was propelled by Ed Clancy Ed, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins. They immediately put the Danish team (Michael Moerkoev, Casper Joergensen, Jens-Erik Madsen and Alex Rasmussen) on the defensive.

The British team was already ahead by over two seconds at the 2,500- metre mark, which is an eternity in the 4000-metre race. Great Britain had the Kiwis in sight pretty shortly after that. While Denmark narrowly avoided being caught, there was no question about who was the best team in the pursuit race.

Exciting Oceanic race for bronze

New Zealand outlasted Australia in the race for the bronze medal. The black-dressed New Zealanders led at every check, but initially only with small margins of 0.2 seconds or less.

It wasn't until with less than five laps to go when things became clearer. Graeme Brown had to pull out of the Aussie line-up. Only three riders have to finish the race. But with only three riders the gap grew to 0.4 seconds at the 3000-metre mark. By the time the Kiwis were down to three men the advantage had grown to almost one second. At the finish New Zealand had a 3'57"776, 1.3 seconds faster than the Aussies.

Zubeldia to Astana

Haimar Zubeldia will switch from Euskaltel-Euskadi to Astana
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Haimar Zubeldia will ride for Team Astana in the coming season. The current Euskaltel rider signed a two-year contract with Johan Bruyneel's team, Astana announced Sunday. The team now has 19 riders for the upcoming season.

"Haimar is a perfect addition for our team," Bruyneel said. "He's a good time-trialist, can climb very well and will be an excellent all-around team-mate in the Grand Tours. A rider like Haimar who has finished in the top ten in numerous Grand Tours also has the ability to win some stages and races. He may be a veteran, but I think he has an exciting two years ahead of him with Team Astana.”

"The Astana Team is the best stage racing team in the world," according to Zubeldia. "I've always admired Johan Bruyneel's teams and to race for him and the best riders is a special honour. I am thankful for the past eleven years, but I'm also excited for the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Zubeldia, 31, turned pro with Euskaltel in 1998. He has finished in the top ten in the Tour de France in 2003, 2006 and 2007. In the year 2000, he finished tenth in the Vuelta a España, second in the Dauphiné Libéré and first overall in the Euskal Bizikleta.(SW)

Columbia dominates Route de France

Luise Keller (Team Columbia) has a good team and just needs to eat and drink
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Team Columbia's Luise Keller won the Route de France for her first career stage race win, capping off Columbia's dominance of the women's race. The team won the prologue and four of the six stages, and wore the leader's yellow jersey for every day except one. Columbia also won the team ranking.

"I'm really happy to win my first stage race," said Keller, who is also German national road champion for the second year running. "It was a really nice race and I found out what it feels like to be a GC rider. I didn't have to do anything after I got the yellow jersey except eat and drink. My team-mates did everything else."

Team director Ronny Lauke was extremely happy with the whole race. "It was amazing," he said. "The girls rode really well together and came up with a very exciting victory. It was also very rewarding for me as this is my first tour win as a director in women's cycling." A former rider himself, Lauke was previously directeur sportif at the now defunct Team Wiesenhof.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg started off Columbia's success, winning the prologue and first stage. Stage two went to Italian Martina Corazza of Gauss RDZ Ormu, and Columbia had to give up the leader's jersey. Keller, 24, put on the yellow jersey after stage 3, which she won after a solo attack, and she kept it for the rest of the race. Urte Juodvalkyte, a Lithuanian riding for USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo, turned a 100-kilometre solo escape into a win in stage four, but Columbia took control again after that. Teutenberg took the fifth stage, and Keller won the closing time trial by nearly 40 seconds, giving her an overall win of some two minutes.(SW)

Vos adds another title to impressive palmarès

By Susan Westemeyer

Points race World Champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands is now also Olympic Champion. The 21 year-old won the 25-kilometre women's points race on the track in the Laoshan Velodrome Monday in Beijing. She won easily, with 30 points ahead of Yoanka Gonzalez of Cuba (18 points) and Spaniard Leire Olaberria (13 points).

Vos, the first Dutchwoman to ever win the event, lapped the field on lap 33 out of 100. That gave her 20 bonus points to virtually assure her of the win.

Overwhelmed by emotion, she struggled to hold back tears as her national anthem was played at the medal ceremony.

A bad crash midway through the race saw three riders go down. Sarah Hammer of the USA was one of them. Hammer had to be brought to hospital. She was holding her collarbone after the crash. Japanese rider Satomi Wadami was worse off and was also brought to hospital. The third rider, France's Pascale Jeuland, was able to continue and finished in seventh.

Bahati and Miller new US Pro crit champs

By Mark Zalewski in Downers Grove, Illinois

Bahati made it look easy
Photo ©: Vero Image
(Click for larger image)

The US Pro crit champs are crowned. Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) won the men's event ahead of Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast) and Mark Hekman (Toshiba-Santo). Brooke Miller took the women's race. In the men's elite event Ken Hanson (California Giant Berry Farms) prevailed.

Back in June during Philly week Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) told Cyclingnews that his main goal for the season was to win the professional criterium nationals in Downers Grove, despite suffering from an injury that caused him to consider pausing his career for surgery. While the races he targeted to lead-up to nationals did not all go his way, he was on top when it counted, making it to the final turn safely near the front and blowing past everyone for the stars and stripes today.

"I have one more goal which is to win the first stage of the Tour of Britain, but if my career were to stop now it would be perfect," he said. "The last lap was from good position to bad position, being behind Kayle to being behind Menzies. It was pretty tough fighting for positions but I've done this course since 2000 and I know the places where I can move up."

As is the case most years in the 22-year history of this race, the downhill second-half of the figure eight course was a fight to turn seven, in order to set-up for the final turn just 150 meters from the finish. Off the top of the hill and into the second of two right turns, turn five, it was Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast in control with Kevin Lacombe and Jake Keough trying to put Alex Candelario into position. "Kevin hit it with half-lap to go with me and Jake on his wheel," said Candelario. "Menzies got in between me and Jake and caused some disruption going into the last corner."

Heading into turns seven and eight former criterium champion Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) jumped the Kelly Benefits train on the outside. Unluckily he unclipped and lost all his speed, while the disrupted field shuffled past him. "Huff jumped on the outside of us but then came unclipped which caused some chaos into the last corner," Candelario said. "I went through but didn't have as much speed as Rahsaan coming behind me."

Bahati's momentum advantage was all he needed to finish off the race. "Second-to-last turn I was far back," he said. "I was like seventh and I just started sprinting, weaving in between guys. Then going into the last turn we were three deep with Candelario and Hekman. We didn't crash and I said thank you. I was in the middle and just told myself to make it through. I knew if I could stay up I could out-sprint them."

Miller doubles national titles with crit win

Brooke Miller (TIBCO) doubles up on her stars and stripes
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

Brooke Miller's TIBCO team clothing will have a distinctive look for the next 364 days.. that is unless she is racing a time trial. The recent elite road national champion decided she liked the look of stars and stripes and out-sprinted the fastest American women to add the elite national criterium title to her palmarès in one of the fastest editions of the race in recent years.

"My hat is off to the peloton today," said Miller. "I've done this race when it has been negative and slow, but people raced their bikes and it was fast!"

Unlike the pro men's race, only American nationals were allowed to race, leaving some teams more shorthanded than others – and for TIBCO that meant only Amber Rais and Lauren Franges helping Miller. "On the late laps Amber was in charge of picking up the attacks so she wasn't able to help with the lead-out. It was up to Lauren and me going into the last laps. Pretty much from eight to go I found her wheel and having someone like her, who can sprint and navigate through the peloton like she can, kept me just completely relaxed."

As Miller mentioned, the racing was fast from the gun, with the announcers ringing a $50 prime before the gun even fired! Aaron's Corporate Furnishings and Cheerwine both put riders up the road in dangerous moves – including one with Kat Carroll (Aaron's) and the always dangerous Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine).

"We wanted the race to be aggressive and not a repeat of road nationals," said Carroll. "The more we attack the more we could keep things strung out. But there were more people in it in the end than we wanted." Still, Carroll easily won the mid-race prime with clean wheels behind her.

But teams like Colavita-Sutter Home were interested in a field sprint for the most-winning rider in this event, defending champion Tina Pic. Meredith Miller (Aaron's) tried to spoil the fun for everyone by putting in a solo move that had a lot of potential. But a combined effort across teams brought her back. Down to the business-end of the race it was all together but still moving fast. Entering the last lap it was a hodge-podge on the front.

Read the full reports on the men's and women's races.

Teams announce line-ups for the week

Team Quick Step is sending its riders in various directions this week, with Paolo Bettini leading the Italian group and Tom Boonen the Netherlands group. Bettini, Davide Malacarne, Dmitry Grabovskiy, Alessandro Proni, Leonardo Scarselli, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Matteo Tosatto and Giovanni Visconti will ride the Tre Valli Varesine. The riders wuill face 198 kilometres around Varese, Italy, on Tuesday, August 19.

On the next day, Malacarne, Grabovsky, Proni, Scarselli, Tossatto and Visconti will be joined by Alexander Efimkin, and Davide Vigano for the Coppa Agostini, 194 km starting and ending in Lissone, Italy.

From August 20 to 27, Tom Boonen will lead Quick Step in the ENECO Tour in the Netherlands. He will be supported by Wilfried Cretskens, Steven De Jongh, Stijn Devolder, Kevin Hulsmans, Sebastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, and Maarten Wynants.

Also taking on the seven-stage ProTour race will be Astana, with Koen de Kort, Thomas Frei, Sergey Ivanov, Aaron Kemps, Berik Kupeshov, Steve Morabito and Andrey Zeits. AG2R will send Christophe Edaleine, Yuriy Krivtsov, Laurent Mangel, Jean Patrick Nazon, Cedric Pineau, Stéphane Poulhiès , Jean Charles Senac and Stijn Vandenbergh. Milram will be led by Marco Velo, with Dennis Haueisen, Elia Rigotto, Enrico Poitschke, Fabio Sabatini, Luca Barla, Markus Eichler and Artur Gajek.

Over in France, Astana and AG2R will also be riding the Tour du Limousin, August 19-22. Andreas Klöden will lead Astana there, supported by Assan Bazayev, Roman Kireyev, Julien Mazet, Benjamín Noval, Sérgio Paulinho, Gregory Rast and Tomas Vaitkus. AG2R will feature Sylvain Calzati, Philip Deignan, John Gadret, Tanel Kangert, Julien Loubet, Lloyd Mondroy, Ludovic Turpin and Alexandre Usov.

Milram will be sending a young team featuring three stagiaires to the Regio Tour in southern Germany, August 20-24. Björn Schröder will be captain for the team which features Dominik Roels and Sebastian Schwager, as well as the stagiaires Arne Hassink, Mitja Schulter and Simon Geschke.(SW)

Hayles out for revenge at Salford Nocturne

British National Road Race Champion Rob Hayles joins a star studded elite field at the Salford Nocturne on Saturday 30th August.

Hayles has been in the form of his life recently, following up the British National road title with a second place at the National Criterium Championships and victory in the Tour of Pendle last weekend.

The Halfords Bikehut rider will start as one of the favourites to win the elite criterium in Salford Quays but will face tough opposition particularly with Smithfield Nocturne winner Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) in the starting line up,

"I'm looking forward to Salford, especially with Geraint on the start list" commented the Halfords Bikehut rider. "He was really strong at Smithfield and I was disappointed not to take the win there."

"I've looked at the Salford course and it is really tight and technical which I think will play to my advantage," he continued. "I'll definitely be out for a bit of revenge and it will be great to win so close to home. Geraint will be racing straight from the Olympics so will want to put on a show but I'm feeling good at the moment and will be up for the challenge."

Thomas may not be the only threat though, with strong squads from Plowman Craven, Rapha, Pearl Izumi, Science in Sport and Sigma Sport also in the line up.

Former National Criterium Champion James McCallum will lead a strong Plowman Craven squad, with Pearl Izumi's Jon Mozley, Landbouwkrediet pro Ed Clancy and Profel-Prorace's Matt Brammeier all capable of taking victory.

The elite event will kick off at 8.15pm finishing off a packed evening of racing and entertainment including the Cycling Weekly Support Race, Geoff Thomas Foundation Corporate Challenge and Folding Bike Race.

The event is free to the public with roller racing starting from 15:00. Full details can be found at

The Nocturne Series

The concept for The Smithfield Nocturne was to create a world class cycling event in the centre of London; a cycling event that would appeal to cyclists as well as non-cyclists, involve local businesses and blend into the famous streets in the heart of the capital.

On June 23, 2007 the first Smithfield Nocturne achieved these objectives bringing to life the streets of central London creating a new style of cycling event in the UK .

The event was recognised for its creativity and innovation at the Visit London Awards 2007, winning bronze in the Sports Tourism category.

The Smithfield Nocturne returned June 7, 2008 and the concept is growing with the Salford Nocturne on August 30, 2008. More events are planned for 2008 and 2009 with the ambition of developing the Series across the UK .

The concept for the Smithfield Nocturne was created by Rapha and Condor and the event was organised by FACE, the company behind the successful Revolution Cycling Series.

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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