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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, December 22, 2008

Edited by Sue George

American women excel in French round of the World Cup

Boom outsprints Nys for win

By Brecht Decaluwé and Sue George

Katie Compton (Spike)
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

American women occupied two of the top three podium spots at the awards ceremony for the fifth round of the cyclo-cross World Cup in Nommay, France, on Sunday after US cyclo-cross National Champion Katie Compton won the race by 19 seconds ahead of German Hanka Kupfernagel. Georgia Gould, a regular on the World Cup mountain bike circuit and the runner-up at last weekend's US cyclo-cross National Championships, finished in third place, just five seconds behind Kupfernagel.

"I was surprised to see that I recovered well from the jetlag. I just returned from the US where I defended my title," said Compton to "I didn't have sore legs after the long trip and the time change... luckily, because this was a very tough course. During the last lap, I managed to develop the small gap that I had on Hanka into a definitive gap. Two wins in a row in the World Cup, I'm so excited!" Compton won the last round of the women's World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium.

In drizzling conditions, Kupfernagel and Compton initially matched each other along with Helen Wyman, but then Compton and Kupfernagel escaped to build a lead together. In the end Compton was stronger. In the penultimate lap, Compton shook the World Champion from her wheel. Kupfernagel couldn't follow.

Two days after the Scheldecross in Antwerp, Kupfernagel was feeling fatigued. "Hanka was not really rested," said her companion and coach Mike Kluge to

Gould was racing her first cyclo-cross World Cup of the season. Early in the race, she was part of the first group of chasers, but on the third lap, she left them behind for a solo pursuit of the lead duo.

A muddy Lars Boom gets the better
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

In the elite men's race, World Champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) seemed to be in total control in Nommay, France, where he held off cyclo-cross World Cup leader Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Tönissteiner) in a two-man sprint during a muddy sixth round of the UCI World Cup.

The two cyclo-cross aces had escaped from a ten-man leader's group during the seventh out of nine laps. During the last two laps, neither Nys nor Boom managed to get away alone while the two were put under pressure by a chasing Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team). Eventually Boom led out the sprint, and despite a good effort from Belgian champion Nys, it was clear that Nys was no match for Boom.

"It was a tough race… a lot of mud. It was always power, pushing... pushing on the pedals. I was riding easy and could play a little with the other guys," said Boom after his win. "I was waiting for Sven [Nys] who was hiding a little. I knew we could head to the finish line together but I knew he wouldn't be able to beat me."

Nys secured himself an insurmountable lead in the World Cup overall rankings – in which Boom is out of contention. The Belgian champion would win the World Cup even if he were to collect no points in Zolder, Belgium, where the next World Cup round will be held next week on December 26.

Kupfernagel's second place helped her expand her World Cup overall lead. Daphny Van Den Brand and Compton are sitting in second and third in the overall standings.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite women's and elite men's cyclo-cross World Cup in Nommay, France, or check out this video interview of Georgia Gould from the USGP weekend in Portland, Oregon.

Hoy to be knighted

By Shane Stokes

Chris Hoy celebrating a keirin gold at the Olympic Games.
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)
One week after winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, it has emerged that Scottish rider Chris Hoy has been recommended for a knighthood for his stunning performances in Beijing.

Hoy won gold medals in the sprint, Keirin and team sprint at the Olympic Games, adding to the two gold medals and one silver he took at this year's world track championships in Manchester. Hoy previously won Olympic Gold for the kilo in Athens four years ago.

According to the Sunday Times, Hoy and many other Olympians will be recognised with various awards in the New Year Honours list for what was Britain's most successful Games campaign since 1908. The newspaper points out that it is very rare for a sportsperson to be awarded a knighthood during their careers; it cites the 1953 award to the jockey Sir Gordon Richards as one exception to that rule.

Swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who won two Olympic gold medals in Beijing, has been recommended for an OBE.

After spending much of his time post-Games fulfilling various commitments including lucrative sponsorship contracts, Hoy has returned to serious training. He is building up for next year's track worlds in Poland, and has said that he will also target more gold medals in the London Games in 2012.

British cyclists took a slew of medals at this year's Olympics. A total of eight golds were won on road and track, along with four silvers and two bronze medals. It was announced earlier this month that Sport England would practically double the funding to British Cycling for the 2009 to 2013 period, giving a 96% increase compared to the total for the previous four year span.

No Sarthe for Armstrong

Lance Armstrong will not be racing in the Circuit de la Sarthe from April 7-10 contrary to reports on Saturday, the same day organizers presented the 57th edition of the French stage race.

"Lance Armstrong is not participating in the Circuit de la Sarthe - Pays de la Loire... . Astana Cycling Team will confirm Lance Armstrong's schedule when it's finalized," said Astana spokesman Philippe Maertens.

Deignan motivated by team change

By Shane Stokes

Philip Deignan
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Irish professional Philip Deignan has had a good first impression with his new squad, the Cervélo Test Team, and is looking forward to racing in its colours in 2009. He met with his new team-mates earlier this month at their initial camp in Locarno, Switzerland.

"It went very well…it was only three days long but the whole team got to know each other very well and there was a really good atmosphere," he told Cyclingnews this week. "We also had lots of meetings with sponsors and the equipment providers, talking to them about what sort of equipment we are going to be using and what the benefits are."

Deignan has competed with AG2R since turning professional in 2005 and has had some good performances in that time. He was tenth, twelfth and sixteenth on mountain stages of last year's Vuelta a España and expected to step up a level this season. However he never really hit top form, with eighth on stage three of the Deutschland Tour and 25th overall among the best results he achieved.

The 25-year-old believes that over-training heading into the season may have been a factor. He consequently took a good break of five weeks from the bike this time round and is now building up for what he hopes will be a season that fully confirms his climbing talent.

Providing he reaches top form, he could make his Tour de France debut riding for defending champion Carlos Sastre. The Spaniard will lead the new Cervélo team and will be one of the favourites for the 2009 race. "Carlos is really friendly and laid back," said Deignan, speaking of his first impressions of the former CSC rider. "There are no airs or graces about him, he is a very down to earth guy.

"It will be amazing to ride with someone like him. There are [Thor] Hushovd and a lot of other big riders in the team, too, so I am sure I will learn a lot from them and hopefully get a chance to help them win big races."

The young Irishman is facing a good block of racing in the first half of the season. After attending the team training camp and launch in Portugal in January he will head to the Tour de Langkawi, then return to Europe to ride the GP di Chiasso, GP di Lugano, Paris-Nice, the Vuelta Castilla y Leon plus the Tour du Pays Basques. He will then do the three hilly spring Classics, namely Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, before lining out in the Giro d'Italia for the second year in succession.

"It is a pretty full-on programme for the start of the year. The team also asked me how I would feel about doing two Grand Tours," he said, referring to the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. "I told them that they need to be realistic, see how things go. It is hard to do two Grand Tours in a row, so we will see closer to the time. But obviously it would be great to do both."

New Tour of Qatar added to women's calendar

Organizers announced the first Ladies Tour of Qatar on February 8-10, 2009, close on the heels of the men's race set for February 1-6. The three-stage race will feature stage starts at the recently opened Museum of Islamic Art, the Qatar Foundation and the Camel Race Track. Fifteen teams, including five national teams and ten trade teams, have accepted the organisers' invitation and will take part in this inaugural edition. They will compete for 18,700 euro in prize money including 1,100 euro for the overall winner.

2009 Ladies Tour of Qatar
Sunday, February 8 - Stage 1: Museum of Islamic Art – Doha Shafallah, 94km
Monday, February 9 - Stage 2: Qatar Foundation – Oryx Farm, 110km
Tuesday, February 10 - Stage 3: Camel Race Track – Al Khor Corniche, 109km

Teams for the 2009 Ladies Tour of Qatar: Australia, France, Italy, South Africa, United States of America, Bigla Cycling Team, Cervelo Test Team, Columbia Women's Team, Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung, Giant Pro Cycling, Lotto-Belisol Ladies Team, Selle Italia, Team DSB Bank, Team Flexpoint, Team Vision 1 Racing.

Schumacher determined to return

Stefan Schumacher put in a solo bid
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Stefan Schumacher sees no reason why he won't ride again in 2009. "I am innocent, I love this job and I am only 27-years-old. I want to win races again," he said in an interview on Sunday.

The former Gerolsteiner rider tested positive for the new EPO derivative CERA during this year's Tour de France. He has continually denied having doped.

In an interview with the Sonntag aktuell magazine, he said that he has applied for his 2009 license with the German federation, and assumes it will be granted "There is not even an investigation of me. There is no reason why they should not issue me a license."

The French anti-doping agency AFLD has scheduled a hearing for Schumacher in January, and the German federation has said that it does not intend to act on Schumacher's license application until after that hearing.

The 27-year-old had signed a contract with the Belgian team Quick-Step for the coming year, but team manager Patrick Lefevere had declared the contract "void" after news of the positive doping control was announced in October.

It is "not an easy situation for my new employer Quick-step", Schumacher acknowledged. "When I get a license, then we will surely sit down and talk. And it is clear: I will get the license, I have a valid contract and I have the goal of being successful with Quick Step."

Quick Step spokesman Alessandro Tegner told the dpa press agency that it was news to him that Schumacher wanted to speak with the team again. "At this time it is clear: Schumacher is out of our team."

Klöden plays by the rules

Andreas Klöden (Astana)
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

Andreas Klöden has denied all allegations that he traveled to the Freiburg University Clinic for a blood transfusion during the 2006 Tour de France, as allegedly claimed by former teammate Patrik Sinkewitz, who has also denied making the claims.

"My whole life I have followed the rules, which have been presented to me by the UCI and the NADA," Klöden said in an interview with German television station ZDF.

"The more riders who are caught, the better it is for cycling," Klöden added. The 33-year-old praised the internal anti-doping program of his Team Astana, saying it "should be installed everywhere in sport".

Sinkewitz claimed to have traveled to the clinic after the prologue of the Tour in 2006 for an illegal blood transfusion, the day after teammates Jan Ullrich and Oscar Sevilla, as well as directeur Sportif Rudy Pevenage were suspended by T-Mobile Team for their connection to Operación Puerto. It has been reported that Sinkewitz and/or his former girlfriend have testified that other teammates also went to the clinic for transfusions.

But Pierre Bordry, head of the French anti-doping agency AFLD criticised the internal programs used by various teams, in an interview in L'Equipe. "It is good that they do it. But it is worthless in the fight against doping. The international anti-doping code must be respected with its independent controllers and recognized laboratories."

Zaballa back to cyclo-cross preparation

Tino Zaballa returned to cyclo-cross workouts, after spending the last couple of days in a training camp with his new Portuguese team Paredes Rota dos Móveis. The get-together with Zaballa's new squad took place in Portugal, on the road exclusively.

Zaballa said that the workouts were very intense. Thursday we did the first analysis and some power workouts." The squad then headed to the mountains for more strenuous exercises. "We got a good beating," Zaballa said with a smile.

The day finished easier, with taking the measurements for the new bicycles and clothing. A nice dinner was also part of the programme. "One of the things I value about Portugal is that you can eat very well."

Friday was quieter. "We talked about the team's regulations and the race calendar. Then we just wished each other a Merry Christmas and returned to our homes," Zaballa said.

On Saturday, Zaballa travelled to Madrid with his friend David De La Fuente, to participate at the general assembly of the ACP [Asociación de Ciclistas Profesionales - the Spanish association of professional cyclists - ed.] "Every winter we try to fix the things that have been going wrong in the last few years in cycling...," Zaballa said.

Now it is back to the winter workouts for the Spanish cyclo-cross specialist. "I need to get into shape for the Ciclocross Internacional de Ispaster on January sixth [Spanish Day of the three Kings - ed.] Then there are two more rounds of the Spanish Cup, before the World Championships."

(Additional editorial assistance by Bjorn Haake and Susan Westemeyer.)

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