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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, December 29, 2008

Edited by Peter Hymas

Worried Page back racing

By Brecht Decaluwé in Diegem, Belgium

Jonathan Page finished 28th in Diegem
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

One day after the news that Jonathan Page had missed a doping control at the cyclo-cross World Cup race in Koksijde the American lined up at the start of the Superprestige race in Diegem, near Brussels. Before the start of the race Page repeated the explanation his wife Cori had sent into the world, that it was nothing more than a stupid mistake, again going through that day and talking about the frame-breaking crash that forced him to abandon that race.

"I hope it's going to be okay but I don't have a lot of faith in it. I just want this nightmare to be over," Page said. "Because of this I'm surely missing out on the day that matters most, the world championships, since it's impossible that I would be selected and to me that is a massive blow."

When asked what will happen if he receives a suspension, the former silver medalist at the world championships of 2007 said he would retire. "Then it's all over."

After the race in Diegem Cyclingnews caught up with Page again and asked him how he had felt during the hectic evening race near Brussels. "It felt good to be out there as every race can be my last one nowadays. I could get rid of a lot of anger. I saved something for tomorrow because Middelkerke has a course that suits me quite well; I will be better tomorrow," Page said. He finished as runner-up during the past two years.

During the evening race in Diegem, the 32-year-old crashed during the third lap when the rider in front of him hit an imprudent spectator. Page continued the race, though, showing his technical skills by completing the sand pit on his bike twice and eventually finished 28th. "I fell down pretty hard and I was glad to notice that I didn't crack any ribs"

Top riders shine light on missed control

Sven Nys spoke to Cyclingnews about Page
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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The missed control from Page didn't go unnoticed and the local media were all covering the story. Cyclingnews asked two of the top cyclo-cross riders about the case and they gave an honest answer. UCI-leader Sven Nys felt very sorry for Page but said he had to be punished. "On the road it happens more easily and I was repeatedly told that one cannot just ride homeward after abandoning a race. Allowing this – although it is very sad for Page – would encourage others to benefit from this example," Nys said.

The fact that the American doesn't have the huge entourage like most Belgians that can warn him about a control wasn't an excuse for Nys. "Honestly, I'm not in favor of leaving this missed control as it is, even though I realize this is a disaster for Page."

Current world champion Lars Boom didn't share Nys' opinion and looked at things in a different way. "As a rider you're always worried that you're making a mistake. In The Netherlands there has a been a similar case where a young rider crashed, headed homeward and thus didn't know about a control; I think he wasn't punished for that," Boom said. "It's the same thing with the whereabouts. You always have to worry that you will be at the place where you have written you would be," the multi-talented Dutchman said to Cyclingnews.

Lars Boom offered his opinion about Page
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)

That brings us to the main issue in this case. How can a rider know about a control if he cannot make it to the finish line? If a Belgian top rider would abandon for some reason then one might expect that someone would at least inform the rider about the control. Page doesn't have the huge entourage that most Belgians have and he relied on his mechanic, his wife and a few friends to inform him about a possible control. Nevertheless, Page acknowledges that he made a stupid mistake and he knows that he has the final responsibility of checking out about a possible control.

There's also the role of the chaperone in this case. His job is to get in touch with his rider when that person reaches the finish. Normally the chaperones are informed about the identity of the rider twenty minutes before the expected end of the race and by that time Page had already pulled out. The chaperone in Koksijde must have noticed that Page wasn't in the race so maybe this person can explain why he couldn't get in touch with the rider.

Boom giving all for second title

By Gregor Brown in Diegem, Belgium

World champion Lars Boom (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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Lars Boom aims to repeat his cyclo-cross world championship title this February on home soil in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. The Dutchman denied critics' opinions that he is not giving full power in every race on the calendar.

"I was going full speed, but it was not enough for today. The Belgian press is saying a lot and I don't read it," Boom said to Cyclingnews at the Superprestige round Sunday night in Diegem, Belgium.

The leaders immediately distanced Boom in the evening race held under spotlights near Brussels' airport. He pushed on to finish 14th in a race that included 49 participants.

"I was not that good today, and I was a little scared. You can lose your season over here when you go maximum speed and risk it through the corners, so I eased up. I am looking forward to Loenhout and to Baal and all the next races, and World Cups, they are better for me."

Boom took his first title in the elite cyclo-cross ranks last January 27 in Treviso, Italy. The win added to World Championship titles in the junior and under 23 ranks and one on the road in the under 23 time trial. He intends to take his second elite 'cross title in Hoogerheide.

"It is the main goal and I am not going to take some risks."

Summerhill suffers in Diegem's cold

By Gregor Brown in Diegem, Belgium

Daniel Summerhill
Photo ©: Mitch Clinton
(Click for larger image)

Danny Summerhill struggled in the cold afternoon temperatures at the Under 23 Superprestige round in Diegem, Belgium, Sunday. The American rider fought to maintain contact with the lead group, but slid back before race end to finish 14th.

"I was just hoping to have the same kind of jump that I did at the World Cup. Not having that was pretty rough," Summerhill said to Cyclingnews.

Summerhill made the move with eventual race winner German Philipp Walsleben. Early in the race he found himself struggling to maintain position with the front 10.

"It would have been nice to stay where I was and not lose site of the front group. I could tell it would be a rough race from the first corner because my legs were not going like they should. When I was with the lead group it hurt to stay with them."

He believes his legs did not recover well from his effort at the World Cup in Zolder, Belgium, two days prior. There he finished 15th despite bad luck.

Summerhill will return to race in Loenhout, Belgium, on Tuesday.

Jayco Bay Cycling Classic set to Rock

Mark Renshaw is back to defend his title in 2009
Photo ©:
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The greatest ever gathering of current Australian cyclists will be joined by US and European champions when the 20th Jayco Bay Cycling Classic begins in the Melbourne bay side suburb of Williamstown on Friday, January 2, 2009. The criterium series continues each day for five days in different locations on the Bellarine Peninsula, finishing at Geelong’s Eastern Beach in the evening of Tuesday, January 6.

The five-races-in-five-days series is regarded by many of the cyclists as the toughest criterium series in the world and a great way to begin preparations for the coming professional cycling season in Australia and Europe.

A record entry of 16 teams in the Elite men's field and 11 teams in the Elite women's field make up the best collection of Australian cyclists ever seen racing in Victoria.

Notable Australians in the men's field include six-times series winner Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Baden Cooke, Graeme Brown, Simon Gerrans, Matt Goss, Matt Wilson, defending champion Mark Renshaw, Will Walker, Aaron Kemps and Rory Sutherland.

Also among the men’s entries is a full team from the USA's glamor squad Rock Racing, which is sending the current US professional criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati and the current US junior criterium champion Justin Williams.

Notable entries in the women's field include defending champion and Junior world champion Megan Dunn, Belinda Goss, former series winner Rochelle Gilmore, Australian criterium champion Kirsty Broun and former Canadian champion Gina Grain.

The race commentator will be the ‘voice of cycling’ Phil Ligget.

For more information visit

Rodriguez sets goals for 2009 season

Joaquim Rodriguez wants a podium finish in 2009
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
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Caisse d'Epargne professional Joaquim Rodriguez is looking forward to the 2009 season and intends to better his top-ten finishes in Grand Tours and major one-day races earned in 2008.

"Taking into account that this year I was eighth in three major classics and sixth in the Vuelta a España and the world road championships, in 2009 I hope to finish on the podium in one of these races," Rodriguez said.

"The team expects me to ride for general classification in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España and I am going to focus on these races, but let's not forget the Northern Classics. Those are races that I love and I often get good results."

This year he finished the same place – eighth – in the three Ardennes Classics, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"In both the Giro and the Vuelta I proved I can be with the best in the mountain stages. This year I have just been lacking a bit of luck in these races."

The beginning of the 2009 season will not change much from his 2008 start. "Like every year, I prefer a quiet start," Rodriguez said. "I will ride two or three stages in Mallorca and then do the Vuelta a Andalucía. I need some racing, but prefer not making maximum efforts at this point of the season. The first objective is to arrive at Tirreno-Adriatico on form and hold it through the Giro."

ISD continues push for Giro entry

Mario Cipollini
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
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Team ISD continues its push for entry in the Giro d'Italia this May. The Italian Professional Continental team backed by a Ukrainian sports institute will rely on star signing Giovanni Visconti and technical consultant Mario Cipollini to gain entrance into the Italian three-week stage race, May 9 to 31.

"Last year from 22 teams only six were invited from the Pro Continental division. The quantity of these wild cards is limited and it's not clear how many there will be given this year. The distribution of the wild cards will depend on the team reputation, on its members and staff," said Team Manager Mark Beygelzimer in a press statement.

Giro organiser RCS Sport will announce the 22 participating teams at the end of next month. The race is celebrating its 100 year of existence and will have a rich list of contenders for the leader's pink jersey. American Lance Armstrong included it as part of his comeback season, he will join high-caliber riders such as Ivan Basso, Gilberto Simoni, Carlos Sastre and Danilo Di Luca.

ISD is a new team for 2009. Directeur Sportifs Angelo Citracca and Luca Scinto will guide the young team. Former Italian Champion and wearer of the 2008 Giro's maglia rosa is the team's star rider. He joins a roster that includes mostly Italians and Ukrainian riders.

Former World Champion Cipollini will help direct the team. He will be in the team car in some races and help the riders prepare for their objectives.

The team presented itself Sunday in Donetsk, Ukraine. Back in Italy, it will have its first camp of 2009 from January 9 to 15. (GB)

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