First Edition Cycling News, December 8, 2008
Edited by Peter Hymas
Armstrong climbs Teide, Contador debuts in Italy
Team Astana completed its last full day of training camp on the Spanish island of Tenerife with a ride up the Teide volcano. Saturday, Lance Armstrong led a group up the climb that tops out at 2325 meters. Triple Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador, still recovering from operation on his nose, celebrated his 26th birthday with a shorter ride and plans for a season debut at the Giro di Sicilia.
Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, climbed to the cable car station which takes visitors to the top of Spain's highest mountain, 3718 meters. His group of seven – including Levi Leipheimer, Yaroslav Popovych and Jesús Hernández – rode over four hours, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Hernández, one of Contador's main training partners, attacked the group near the summit.
Contador chose a lighter training ride of around three hours. The training camp is his first time on the bike since the end of his season which was marked by non-serious crash in Madrid's ACP Criterium and a planned deviated septum operation last week.
The Spaniard is considering starting his 2009 season with the Giro di Sicilia, January 30 to February 1, with the cancellation of the Vuelta a Valenciana, February 24 to 28, possible. His schedule will begin slower than Armstrong's as his main objective is in July, a repeat of his 2007 win in the Tour de France. Confirmed race dates include the Paris-Nice, March 8 to 15, and the Dauphine Libéré, June 7 to 14. The duo will not race together until the Tour de France.
The camp ended Sunday, one week after it convened. It was highlighted by the team's press conference with Armstrong. He travels to the USA to participate in a cancer related meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Contador joins Leipheimer, Popovych, Andreas Klöden and Team Manager Johan Bruyneel to visit the team's sponsors in Astana, Kazakhstan. Contador and Armstrong will meet again with the rest of their teammates at a camp in Santa Rosa, California, February 1 to 10. (GB)
Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Luca Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Giro visits Milan mid-race
The 2009 Giro d'Italia will visit Milan mid-race with a circuit based from Piazzale Loreto, according to Tuttosport. The race, in its 100th year, is due to start in Venice and expected to end in Rome, May 9 to 31, away from its customary end in the fashion capital.
Race organizer RCS Sport will present the official route of the 92nd Giro d'Italia on Saturday, in Venice. In October it announced that the three-week race will begin with a team time trial in Venice. Pundits predict it will end with an individual time trial in Rome.
The last time the Giro finished outside of Rome was in 1989, when Laurent Fignon won the overall in Firenze. The Italian paper speculates that the city could not miss out on the centenarian Giro since it hosted the start of the first stage of the race's first edition.
Piazzale Loreto saw the Giro get underway on May 13, 1909 – Milano to Bologna, nearly 397km. One-hundred years later, it will host the start and end of stage eight, Sunday, May 17. Circuits – passing Castello Sforzesco and Parco del Sempione – longer than the typical finishing day in Milan will make up the stage. The paper believes the following day will be the first of two rest days.
The 2009 Giro d'Italia will be one of the mostly hotly contested in years. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong added his name to the list of starters in October. Other favorites will include Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego, Gilberto Simoni, Danilo Di Luca and Carlos Sastre. (GB)
Nash and Johnson win in Portland
By Laura Weislo in Portland, Oregon
Katerina Nash (Luna) and Tim Johnson (Cyclocrossworld/Cannondale) won the Portland Cup, round number five in the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross on Saturday in Portland, Oregon. The pair took their respective wins in similar fashion, each crossing the finish line first against a teammate and a third breakaway companion in tight races.
Luna teammates Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould again went one-two in the US Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross, but it wasn't without a strong fight from Rachel Lloyd (California Giant Berry/Specialized), however, as the three riders separated themselves from the rest of the field at the mid-point of the race and took turns to attack.
Nash was pleased to take the win in one of her last races of the season, and valued the presence of Gould in the lead group. "It's always good to have a strong teammate out there – one can attack and the other can sit in," she told Cyclingnews. "Everyone was strong – we kept attacking each other and nobody could get away, so I just waited for an opportunity."
In the men's race, US National Champion Tim Johnson stunned both the crowds and himself by taking the win on the first race of the Portland Cup. Johnson, who just three weeks ago sustained a knee injury which forced him off the bike for 10 days, rode into the lead group with his Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com teammate Jeremy Powers, and local favorite Ryan Trebon (Kona). It came in unexpected circumstances, although Johnson wasn't complaining.
"It's definitely something I didn't expect," Johnson said of his victory. "When I crashed in New Jersey, I was able to get back up and win that race but I couldn't even start the next day. Then I had 10 days off the bike and I was worried that that was going to be the end of my season. I just tried to take care of it and do a couple days of training. So it's a huge surprise to even be in the top three, let alone to win here."
Brailsford looks to build on Great Britain's Olympic success
David Brailsford, the mastermind of Great Britain's cycling success in Beijing, takes great satisfaction in a £5 million increase in the cycling team's budget for 2012 in addition to having four Beijing gold medallists vie for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
" I'm paid to win medals and as a team we set out to win medals. We did exactly that and so the rewards should follow," said Brailsford to the Telegraph. "I have absolutely no guilt."
Much of the extra money will be spent on technological advancements, a necessity brought home to Brailsford during a visit to the McLaren F1 headquarters last week.
"If you look at the car they were running in 2000, it looks so outdated now but at the time they thought it was the best car that could ever be built," said Brailsford. "It's the same for us. In four years' time we'll look back to now and think, 'Blimey, we were in the dark ages'."
Chris Hoy, Nicole Cooke, Rebecca Romero and Bradley Wiggins, winners of seven gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, have all been short listed for BBC Sports Personality of the Year and will try to break a 43 year drought for cyclists. Tom Simpson was the last cyclist to win the prestigious award, back in 1965. The cyclists will face stiff competition from six other athletes, most notably Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
Cancellara Swiss Male Athlete of the Year
Olympic Gold Medal winner Fabian Cancellara was named Swiss Male Athlete of the Year Saturday night at the Credit Suisse Sports Awards. He won ahead of tennis player Roger Federer and skier Didier Cuche.
IT Factory director turns himself in to police
Stein Bagger, director of technology firm IT Factory, the recently bankrupted co-sponsor of Bjarne Riis' Danish ProTour Team, walked into a Los Angeles police station Saturday and admitted he was wanted for fraud, according to the Los Angeles Times. Until his appearance in downtown Los Angeles, Bagger had last been seen on November 27 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he was vacationing with his wife and daughter.
Bagger had allegedly taken a conference call the day he vanished. Worried, his wife contacted authorities leading officials inside and outside the company to launch an investigation. Within days, it was revealed that more than 90% of the company's revenue was based on fraud.
Bagger told the LAPD that he flew from Dubai to New York, arriving November 28. There, he said, he borrowed a friend's credit card and car and drove to Los Angeles. He checked into a hotel on Friday night and on Saturday decided to turn himself in by entering "police" into the auto's navigation system. The device led him from Hollywood to the LAPD's Central Division station in downtown Los Angeles, the first police station to be listed on the car's GPS unit.
Now online: 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll
It's that time of year again... the 2008 Cyclingnews reader poll is now online. Each year, we give you the chance to select the riders, teams, races, moments, equipment and photos that have really stood out from the pack in the last 12 months or so. To keep things simple, we'll be asking you to vote from a fixed selection in each category, as well as some 'free text' fields, so the survey should take you less than 10 minutes to complete.
As an incentive, we'll be giving away a pair of Zipp's 81mm deep 808 tubular wheels on the new 88/188 hub to one lucky entrant... So if you want to fly like Fabian Cancellara this Christmas, let us know your thoughts on the rider of the year!
(Additional editorial assistance by Gregor Brown, Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)