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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, November 10, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Youngsters duel in Pijnacker

By Brecht Decaluwé in Pijnacker, The Netherlands

Lars Boom topped the podium in Pijnacker
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Youngsters Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Niels Albert (Palmans Cras) gave the "old" guys a beating on a true 'cross course during the third UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round of the season in Pijnacker, The Netherlands, on Sunday.

The two riders were a good match for each other and despite several attacks in the second half of the race, they entered the last lap together. World Champion Boom got rid of Albert in the last corners on his way to grabbing his second consecutive win on home soil in Pijnacker.

"Last year it was my first victory and now it's like that again," the Dutch world champion said to Cyclingnews after capturing his first win of the 2008-9 season. "This year I crossed the finish line with the jersey of the World Champion and that makes this win a bit more special. The race was tougher than last year because of the strong winds."

Albert kept his lead in the World Cup standings despite losing the battle for the victory for the day. "Lars could take that last corner a bit shorter than me, and thus he was able to find traction quicker than me," Albert said to Cyclingnews.

"He had a gap of 10 metres, and that made it impossible for me to win the race. I think there aren't many riders who can close that gap and overtake him on a road, so I can live with this defeat," said Albert.

Half a minute behind the two protagonists Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) made an impressive comeback from outside the top 20 to join up with Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner). The two arch rivals were left to sprint for the remaining podium spot.

Wellens clipped out of his pedal by accident and Nys seized the opportunity to take third.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite men's World Cup cyclo-cross race in Pijnacker.

World champion Kupfernagel narrowly defeats Compton

By Brecht Decaluwé in Pijnacker, The Netherlands

Hanka Kupfernagel took first place
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Katie Compton returned to the cyclo-cross scene at the third round of the UCI World Cup after a leg injury that forced her to pull out of the World Cup in Kalmthout. Lacking UCI points, the American rider was positioned on the last start line, but that didn't deter her for long. Compton shot off the front like an arrow and almost held on for victory before being overtaken by Hanka Kupfernagel.

Compton quickly amassed a lead of twenty seconds on the chase group containing Hanka Kupfernagel, who had just recovered from a poor start. The World Champion then plowed away from the main chase group in search of Compton. The American stoutly defended every metre of her lead, but on the last lap a determined Kupfernagel caught up.

Compton made a mistake in swapping bikes as her dirty bike's handlebars got caught in the rear wheel of her clean bike. The error was just enough of an opening for Kupfernagel who powered away from her American rival in the mud.

Kupfernagel grabbed her second consecutive victory in the World Cup and extended her lead in the overall series.

"Right now I'm tired but happy," Kupfernagel said. "I don't know how the others were able to do it, but they started extremely fast and I was slow. I managed to close the gap and after a while I started to find the good lines through the mud. That saved me some energy which was useful at the end of the race," Kupfernagel said.

Compton was delighted with her second-placed performance.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite women's World Cup cyclo-cross race in Pijnacker.

African road champions crowned

African Road Champion Dan Craven (Namibia) is congratulated by UCI President Pat McQuaid
Photo ©: Jean-Pierre Van Zyl
(Click for larger image)

Namibian Dan Craven and South African Cashandra Slingerland were crowned African Continental Champions on Sunday after winning the elite men's and women's road races in Morocco.

In the men's road championships race, Craven defeated Moroccan Hassan Zahboune by 17 seconds and Algerian Abdelmalek Madani by 25 seconds.

Slingerland made it a double after she also won Friday's time trial championship. She sprinted to a win in the road race over compatriot Marissa van der Merwe. Aurélie Halbwachs (Mauritius) finished third at 34 seconds back.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the African Continental Championships.

Rogge predicts as many as 15 Olympic Games doping cases

IOC president Jacques Rogge told the Austrian Press Agency that he is expecting about 15 total doping cases from the Olympic Games in Beijing.

"We had 39 positive cases in the run-up to the games, eight during the games, and seven more possibly coming up," Rogge said Friday.

Rogge, who is running for re-election, estimated another six weeks before testing results are finalized and available. He also gave his opinion on life-time bans. "First-time offenders can't be banned for life. Criminals are also not shot the first time they are caught. Personally I think that doping with anabolic steroids and EPO should be followed by a four year ban."

The International Olympic Committee previously announced in early October that it would retest Olympic Games samples for EPO CERA soon after the latest round of Tour de France doping scandals when several top riders tested positive for the substance.

Roulston's victory a stepping stone back to the European road scene

Roulston at this year's Olympics
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

After winning the Tour of Southland on Saturday, Hayden Roulston already has his sights set on next year's Grand Tours. Roulston, who raced the New Zealand stage race last week for The Southland Times-Trek team, previously announced his is moving to the new Cervelo Test Team for 2009 under a one-year contract.

He is hoping to make Cervelo's teams for the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France – maybe winning a stage – while he works toward securing his future longer term.

"I'm pretty sure I'll get the results I need. I'm going to shoot for the top because I believe I can do it," he said according to the New Zealand Herald.

Roulston used to race for the Cofidis team and the Discovery Channel Team, but his early professional road career encountered a few speed bumps. He was cut from Discovery Channel for disciplinary reasons and then suffered a potentially fatal heart condition leading to a temporary retirement.

He proved, however, to make a complete recovery and return to the elite ranks by winning several races, and this year, he also won silver in the individual pursuit in Beijing, China, at the Olympic Games. In addition, Roulston was also part of New Zealand's bronze-winning team pursuit squad.

Roulston will take a break from the track in 2009 to concentrate fully on the road with his new team. Yet he promised a return to the boards in 2010 and beyond.

His win Saturday was his third at the Tour of Southland, making him one of only three riders to win three or more times. He joined an elite club including Tino Tabak (1965-67) and Brian Fowler (1985-90, 1992, 1995).

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Tour of Southland.

Gates ends career with solo victory among friends

By John Trevorrow

Nick Gates (Silence Lotto) gets a little help at the Giro d'Italia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

It was a fairy tale finish to a stellar career for Aussie cycling legend Nick Gates. In his final race – in the aptly named first annual Nick Gates Classic on Saturday – Gates stormed clear with two laps to go and punched the air in a euphoric salute to 17 years on the bike. But a delayed flight meant that teammate Cadel Evans had to swap the bike for a microphone and help his mate from the sidelines.

Many of Gates' teammates and friends saddled up against a strong local contingent for a 45 minute plus three lap criterium in the inaugural Nick Gates Foundation Classic in Townsville, Australia. Gate's fiancée, Belinda Drake, is from Townsville and after spending some time in the north Queensland capital, Gates saw the potential in some of the youngsters but was made aware of the many problems that they face. Gates decided to form the Nick Gates Foundation to provide the promising juniors with some financial help.

In extremely humid and hot, 30 degree (Celsius) conditions, a group of 10 escaped at the halfway point thanks to many attacks from Columbia pro Scott Davis and Jittery Joe duo Jon Cantwell and Trent Wilson. With six laps to go, Gates got clear with teammate Robbie McEwen, Davis and Henk Vogels. Gates then attacked with two laps to go and McEwen managed to negate the efforts of Vogels and Davis to help his best mate take the victory.

"That was really hard out there today and I am rapt to take out my final race. It was an awesome day," Gates said.

"It was so bloody hot out there that I am as wet as if I had ridden straight into the bay," an exhausted McEwen said. "But I was so happy to see Nick take it out and it gave me great pleasure to help a mate who has put his all into helping me over many years."

Vogels, who pipped McEwen for second place, didn't seem to be upset with losing to his long time friend. "I did try to beat Nick today but he was too strong on the day. But if I wasn't going to win then I couldn't think of a more deserving guy. We have been teammates, room mates and close mates for 15 years and I am as happy as if I had won myself," Vogels said.

Pino settles accounts

Alvaro Pino & his team
Photo ©: Xacobeo Galicia
(Click for larger image)

It took almost half a year, but Xacobeo Galicia's director sportif Alvaro Pino settled an outstanding account when he hosted Gustavo Cesar Veloso, his teammates and the team's support staff for a succulent, celebratory meal.

"I had promised to host dinner in the case of win at the Volta a Catalunya," said Pino.

Gustavo Cesar Veloso did just that when he won the 88th edition of the ProTour race held from May 19-25. Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) and Rémi Pauriol (Crédit Agricole) rounded out the top three. At the time, the Xacobeo Galicia was known as the Karpin Galicia squad.

On the menu for the festive dinner were seafood pie, beef and octopus and plenty of wine for everyone courtesy of the wine cellar of the family of team masseur Roberto Portela Vieira. Given the time of year, Pino didn't seem to mind the extra indulgences by his riders while enjoying the festive repast.

Bewley & Sergent sign with Armstrong's U23 team

Sam Bewley & Jesse Sergent were on New Zealand's medal-winning Olympic Games team
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Two young New Zealand athletes will join American Taylor Phinney on Lance Armstrong's new Under-23 Development Team for next year. Former junior world champions Sam Bewley and Jesse Sergent will race as part of the squad directed by retired pro racer Axel Merckx.

"This is a big thing," former New Zealand cycling coach Ron Cheatley told New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) according to the Otago Daily Times.

"They are going to be rubbing shoulders with the two biggest names ever in cycling in Armstrong and Merckx. This is an absolutely fantastic opportunity and both boys are over the moon."

New Zealand cycling team manager Craig Adair paved the way for the young men by submitting an application on behalf of his two riders.

"Armstrong's team is sponsored by Trek and because I am the company's distributor in New Zealand, I was able to put forward an application to try and get maybe one or two riders on this team. I didn't have high expectations because you can imagine the number of applications that would have been put in."

The two will also continue to race with the New Zealand national pursuit team on the track as it prepares for the UCI Track World Championships in Poland in March.

Though the contracts of Bewley and Sergent don't start until January 1, both are expected to attend the team's launch in the US next month.

Sastre stays busy with charitable works in off season

Carlos Sastre visits with some children
Photo ©: Prensa Carlos Sastre
(Click for larger image)
Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre has been keeping busy with several charitable works during his off-season.

He will make a visit to the University Hospital of Gent on Monday, November 10. Sastre will spend time with children suffering from cancer on behalf of the Kinderkankerfonds Foundation, for which Sastre has worked for several years. He is travelling to Belgium, accompanied by his wife and parents, and will also attend a dinner in his honor organized by members of his Aalter fan club.

He spent this weekend working with the Kenyan Project Vidha, led by Doctor Santiago Moreno, chief of infectious diseases of the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid. He also lent his support to the ophthalmology project run by Dr. Purification Garcia at the Pediatric Oncology Hospital La Paz in Madrid.

Finally, the French Grand Tour winner donated cash and a jersey for a raffle at the awards ceremony of Sid's trophy Paddel-Can (Association for Research on Cancer and AIDS) held this week at the Reebok Sports Club La Finca in Somosaguas, Madrid.

Posthuma extends with Rabobank

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

Joost Posthuma extended his contract with Rabobank according to The 27 year-old Dutchman's contract was to expire at the end of next year, but now will run through 2011.

Posthuma's best result came at the KBC Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde in April when he won the final time trail and general classification.

He also took second and won the overall at the Tour of Luxembourg in June.

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