First Edition Cycling News, October 6, 2008
Edited by Laura Weislo
Flecha, Rosseler winners in Franco-Belge
By Bjorn Haake with additional reporting by Julien Gillebert
Sébastien Rosseler added another win for the Quick Step team at the Circuit Franco-Belge when he beat his escape companion Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) in horrible conditions for the race's final stage in Tournai. Flecha was not unhappy with second, as he had gained enough time to win the overall title.
Flecha made the decisive move with a potential overall win on his mind, and he was happy to finally deliver for Rabobank. "I am so happy to finally win a race for my team." Flecha explained that he wasn't always so fortunate the past few years. "It is my third season for this team but, despite good results, I have never won a race for them." The last victory for Juan Antonio Flecha was a stage in the Vuelta Valenciana, in 2005.
To win, Flecha had to do what he does best. "To win the general classification, I knew I had to attack, to surprise the sprinters." He felt he had the form. "I knew I was in good condition since the Vuelta. I expected to go to the World Championship of Varese but I was not taken in the Spanish selection. It was a disappointment for me. But I managed to focus on other goals: the Franco-Belge, but also Paris-Tours."
The riders had to fight the elements for another time, with cold rain being prevalent all day. The organisers shortened the final stage by two finishing laps or around 30 kilometres. It was appreciated by the day's winner. "The weather today was absolutely awful!" Rosseler said.
Rosseler raced very actively in the final part of the race and explained his tactics. "During the finale I made my attack, taking seven other riders along with me. On the final Côte about 15 kilometres from the finish line I decided to up the pace. The bunch was gaining time and catching up with our small group. I didn't want them to catch up with me, without attempting another attack."
See the full report, results and photos.
Evans looks back on Tour and comments on Armstrong
By Brecht Decaluwé in Eernegem
Australian cycling star Cadel Evans was in Eernegem to pay tribute to Wim Vansevenant, who is one of the domestiques who helped Evans at the Tour de France over the last four years. He looked back on the Tour, and the news that next year he could have to face off against seven time Tour winner, Lance Armstrong in next year's edition.
Evans was skeptical about how well the Texan would do with his comeback to the sport after four years away from the sport, and said he'd have to see him on the bike before considering how Armstrong would affect his own race. "Let's see. Overall it's good for the sport and the interest in cycling. I'm happy to have him back, but first we have to see," Evans said.
The Australian is at the tail end of a season which began in February at the Vuelta a Andalucía, and will come to a close at the Giro di Lombardia next week. He looked back on the Tour, where he took second overall for the second year in a row. He emphasized that his crash on stage nine hurt him more than he revealed at the time. "It was a really hard Tour for me. A lot of people don't realize the impact of the crash that I had in the first week of the Tour," Evans told Cyclingnews.
"I think there's only three people who understand how difficult it was for me in the Tour beyond that crash; it was difficult for me, and stressful. I did everything I could and in the end I'm happy with the Tour that I rode. It was a great race for the spectators. Other than the crash the Tour went quite well for me. I have to be happy with that," Evans said.
During the Tour de France Evans was under constant attack from the CSC team which had two team leaders, one being eventual winner Carlos Sastre and the other Fränk Schleck. Schleck admitted this week that he made a monetary transfer to the bank account of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, which has raised accusations that he was a client of the notorious blood-doping doctor, and the rider with the code name "Amigo di Birillo" from the Operación Puerto - charge he vigorously denied.
Evans was asked to speculate if, without Fränk Schleck in the Tour de France, it could have been easier for him to go up against the CSC squad. "No, CSC had the best team at the Tour for sure. What could we do?" Evans said. "We were good but we weren't the best. Everybody did what they could despite health problems and injuries, me included. What more could we do?" Evans said.
After enjoying the rain criterium in Eernegem - where Evans covered his helmet in a plastic bag to keep the rain out - the Australian will be preparing for the last race of the season in Lombardia next week. "It has been a long season. I've been up there for a while now."
Peloton pays tribute to Vansevenant
By Brecht Decaluwé in Eernegem
Typical Belgian weather conditions accompanied 36 year-old Wim Vansevenant as the Silence-Lotto rider said goodbye to cycling in his hometown of Eernegem on Sunday. Vansevenant retired after 14 years in the professional peloton, first riding in 1994 as a stagiaire for the Novell team before spending four seasons with the Vlaanderen 2002-Eddy Merckx team. Vansevenant spent his last six seasons with the Lotto team.
The Belgian rider will go into the history books as the rider who received the lantern rouge as last placed rider in the Tour de France three times in a row (2006-2008).
Vansevenant best known as domestique for several top cyclists such as Peter Van Petegem, Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans, but he managed one victory in his professional career - the second stage of the 1996 Tour du Vaucluse - or two if you count his victory in the honorary criterium on Sunday.
The blond Belgian pulled a controlled skid across the slippery wet cobbles as he crossed the line, and then hung up his bike and dressed up like a farmer for the presentation. A farmer? Yes, Vansevenant has decided to take over the business of his father, farming in Bovekerke. "I've got this farming degree so I figured that I had to do something with it," Vansevenant joked. "It will be a farm without animals because that's nothing but misery, but it will be hard enough anyway."
The Belgian realized that his Tour de France performances gave his popularity a major boost. "I'm proud that I've written a little bit of history with that lantern rouge. It will always be linked to my name and I hope that I inspired other riders, just like the seven Tour de France victories from Lance Armstrong," Vansevenant said.
"During the last few months the form wasn't what it was supposed to be," Vansevenant admitted. "The Tour de France was my last major goal and afterwards the motivation was gone. I don't think that I'll keep riding my bike because I have to give it back to the team. I'll use the saved time for my family because they deserve that after all those years when I was away from home," Vansevenant said.
The festivities in Eernegem started with a family bike ride in the morning and about 400 people showed up to fight up against the pouring rain and strong winds in West-Flanders, just like 'Sevi' had done throughout his career. In the afternoon a real criterium was held in Eernegem. Many of Belgium's top riders showed up to pay tribute. Also among the starters were Australians Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen and Nick Gates. "First of all I want to say sorry to 'Sevi' that we couldn't complete the double in the Tour de France this year. The plan was to be lantern rouge in the Tour de France and yellow jersey in Paris and I let him down," Evans joked.
"Beyond that, I value every rider who contributes to the team whether that's with results or with the work they do for the team. Wim is one of the riders who you always want to have in your team, in every race you do. He's a real team player in every sense of the word and he's only going to be missed in that way," Evans said.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Brecht Decaluwé / Cyclingnews.com
Blaudzun says good-bye, too
Danish rider Michael Blaudzun hung up his bike after the world championships time trial, and according to an interview on his now former team CSC-Saxo Bank web site, he's not regretting his decision to end his career. He began as a professional for the Novell/Word Perfect team in 1994 - a squad which went on to become Rabobank the next year. Blaudzun stayed with Rabobank until 1998, when he spent one year with Team Telekom before joining the CSC team and staying put for the rest of his career.
"It's been a weird week that's for sure. On one hand there's this strange void because I don't know what I'll be doing next, but on the other hand there's no doubt in my mind that it's the right decision. I simply don't feel the same need to compete anymore," said Blaudzun.
He made his decision to retire last year, and said he's had time to adjust to the idea. "But that doesn't mean I'm not sentimental about it though. During the last three or four weeks I've said my goodbyes to so many people, who've all been a part of my life for so many years now and whom I might never see again."
What the future holds for Blaudzun is still not decided. "I've talked to a few people but nothing's definite yet. I used to do office work before becoming a pro rider but I don't know if that's useful in any way now," said the Dane.
"It's possible I might do something within the world of cycling in the future. For instance I've spoken to Herning Cycling Club about helping out next season, but not as a manager or anything else time consuming, because I also want a break from cycling just now. But I'll definitely still do some training from time to time – it's in my blood, my entire family has always been into bikes. My dad is 63 now and he still rides his bike a lot. When they call me up in six months time asking if I want to take part in some recreational race or other I wont guarantee that I'll say no," he joked. "I'm also planning on seeing some race next year and say hello to some of the old friends from the team."
Until then, he said he will enjoy his retirement. "I don't have to be too worried about gaining a few pounds over the winter and also it'll be great next year to get to go on a summer vacation like everyone else," says Blaudzun. He will be joining the Team CSC Saxo Bank Official Fan Club's chat at team-csc.com to say a proper goodbye on Monday October 13th.
Aldape renews with Team Type 1
Olympian Moises Aldape has extended his contract with Team Type 1, the team announced this weekend. Aldape, who represented Mexico at the Beijing Games after a break-out season which included a stage win and the mountains classification in the Cascade Cycling Classic and the sprint classification at the Tour de Beauce.
The team also announced the signing of Argentinean sprinter Ricardo Escuela. Escuela, 25, established himself as one of the top sprinters on the domestic circuit in 2008 by winning stages at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the Cascade Classic while racing for Successfulliving.com presented by ParkPre.
"Moises has been a go-to guy all year for us, whether sprinting to a top-10 finish in Philadelphia, winning mountain-top stages at Cascade, or being the stalwart lieutenant in defence of another team leader in races like the Tour de Langkawi, the Tour of Ireland and the Vuelta Mexico," Team Type 1 Sport Director Ed Beamon said.
"I expect we will see him take on more of a leadership role next year. He has a better understanding of what to expect on the American racing scene and has already established his adeptness in international competition, so I anticipate a strong season from him. Without the distraction of Olympic preparation, we should be able to start him in more events next year as well."
Beamon said he is excited to be able to provide Escuela with a strong team that will be committed to leading him out in field sprints.
"It's no secret that a weakness of ours this year was not having any depth in the sprint finishes," Beamon said. "We are making moves to fill that void and Ricardo is a key addition. He has shown that he is capable of winning the bunch kick in criteriums, as well as hard selection-type races. He can also put himself in the breakaways where his finishing speed becomes that much more dangerous."
Team Type 1 was created in 2004 by two racers with Type 1 diabetes, Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge, and was founded to inspire people living with Type 1 diabetes to better manage their health and overcome obstacles often associated with the condition.
"Although they do not have diabetes themselves, Moises and Ricardo not only give us two powerful competitive weapons as we enter 2009, but they also increase our ability to communicate this message to the Hispanic and Spanish speaking community in America that struggles with an increasing population affected by diabetes," Beamon said.
Team Inferno to debut as Kenda Pro Cycling in 2009
The US elite amateur Team Inferno announced this weekend that it would register as a UCI Continental team for 2009, under the name Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Spinergy.
In 2008, the team had a number of Australian and New Zealand riders including Hayden Godfrey and Jeff Hopkins, but the new squad will be all American. "Many teams have collapsed in this pained economy and as such, fewer teams will exist domestically in 2009. This means American racers will be without a home, and to have talented racers from abroad take the few openings that remain simply is not in the best interests of American cycling," read the team's press release.
The team will also be supported only by bicycle industry sponsorship. "Apart from the newly announced Cervélo Test Team, which is a Pro Tour [sic] team, we are the only other professional team of its kind that I know of. And, we are a single citizenship team. This means our entire roster can line-up at our National Championship races," stated director Chad Thompson.
The team will focus on the Tour de Georgia and the Tour of Missouri for 2009.
2009 Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy roster:
Professional – Chad Burdzilauskas, Jaime Gandara, Bennet van der Genugten, Remi McManus, Benjamin Renkema, Jacob Rytlewski, Tyler Stanfield, Timothy Swain, Scottie Weiss, Matthew Winstead.
Elite – Marco Aledia, James Baldesare, Jeffrey Braumberger, Ryan Gamm, Richard Harper, Ryan Rish, Russell Stevenson, Chadwick Thompson.
Team updates are available at www.kendaprocycling.com or www.infernoracing.org
Tour of Durango postponed
The Tour of Durango, scheduled for October 12, has been postponed until Summer 2009 in order to expand the event. The mountain bike/run/hiking event is a fund-raiser for Trails 2000 and the Southwest Conservation Corps. Trails 2000, a nonprofit formed almost twenty years ago that is responsible for building and maintaining the trails in and around Durango. The Southwest Conservation Corps employs and trains young people and completes conservation projects on public lands.
With support from title sponsor Alpine Bank, the event was ready to go next week Sunday, October 12 but the event committee was presented with three opportunities to expand the scope and nature of the Tour of Durango. It decided kicking off a first-year event with even more gusto and partners would be worth waiting for.
"We realized that the event as it was originally proposed was going to get us just part of the way to where we want to be, which is providing an event the injects new energy to the Durango mountain bike and running scenes," said event director Jeff Frost.
The plans for next year are to partner with an existing event and bring a lot of visitors into Durango for a much larger-scale happening that could add multi-day multi day mountain bike and trail running opportunities.
"With continued strong support from event partners and sponsors Alpine Bank, Carvers Brewing Company, The Durango Herald, Studio 21, The Point, Trails 2000, and the Southwest Conservation Corps on board for the future, the 2009 event is in great shape," said Beth Drum, marketing director for Alpine Bank.
All registered 2008 participants have been contacted and their entry fees will be refunded.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)