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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News, October 19, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Cunego crowns season with third Lombardia win

By Gregor Brown in Como, Italy

Cunego was jubilant
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Damiano Cunego, 27, silenced critics' rumblings and capped off a successful season with his third career victory in the Giro di Lombardia. The Italian spoke of his season after his solo victory along the famed waterfront.

Cunego's season was near perfect and only marred slightly by his performance in the Tour de France. He expected more from himself in the French Grand Tour after skipping the Giro d'Italia, a race he won at the ripe age of 22. His Tour performance easily washed away critics' memories of his performances in one-day races.

Before Cunego stormed the shores of Como solo – adding to his 2004 and 2007 victories in the same spot – he won the Amstel Gold, two Spanish races and finished runner-up to his teammate at the World Championships. It was a stunning season for the rider referred to as "Il Piccolo Principe" from Verona.

Not only did Cunego win Lombardia on Saturday, but he did it in a fashion that oozed class. Team Lampre worked all day for its captain with World Champion Alessandro Ballan leading the affairs. Cunego did not fail when it came time for his share of the work.

He followed the key moves on Madonna del Ghisallo and escaped with three others on Civiglio. Instead of riding out the final 16 kilometres in the move, Cunego went solo shortly after the summit.

"This is only the second time that I won solo," recalled Cunego of his 15-kilometre move – the first came four years ago with a stage win in the Giro d'Italia. "It feels great!"

Blowing kisses across the line
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

"It was difficult because I knew they were not far away. I had some doubts in the final, but I was the head of affairs. I left the 'bigs' on Civiglio and I held my own on San Fermo."

Cunego's advantage grew from nine seconds after the descent of Civiglio to 24 seconds at the top of San Fermo – at the finish it was still 24 seconds. He allowed himself to enjoy the moment in the final kilometres.

"It has been a long time since I finished solo [winning]. In the last kilometre, I felt very secure of myself and I was taking in all of the public's applause."

Only three weeks had passed since he took silver at the World Championships in Varese. He dutifully watched the others scramble as his Italian teammate, Ballan, escaped clear for the rainbow jersey.

"To win would have been great, but that is the way cycling goes and a silver medal is still very important. I am happy all the same because my teammate won. If another country had won then it would have left a bitter taste in my mouth."

One-day stature

The season finale, with Worlds and Lombardia, backed up Cunego's spring performances. Winning Amstel Gold and Lombardia in the same year, and finishing on the podium in other big one-day races has cemented his stature as a one-day rider.

"I won two Classics, third at Flèche Wallonne, second at Worlds. It was too bad that Liège-Bastogne-Liège was a bit of an off day, but that is just the way it went. I suffered from the heat that day.

"The critics came out when I rode badly, but I kept my head throughout the year. Both Alessandro [Ballan] and I are athletes that go all year round. Everyone races in their own way and I prefer to race this way. ... The season was very good for me.

"The only thing that did not go well was the Tour de France this year. I did not train how I wanted to for the Tour de France."

Read the complete feature and see Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Giro di Lombardia.

Champions to meet in Borgomanero

Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The start list for the two-man team time trial event known as the Coppa Lella Mentaste in Borgomanero, Italy, reads like a who's who list of male road racers. Reigning Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre is among those scheduled to race. He will team with fellow Team CSC Saxo Bank racer Volodymir Gustav for the fourth edition of the race.

Sastre certainly wasn't considering himself a favorite. "I'm very short on form in recent weeks because I could not train much," he said. "I hope my teammate Gustov can compensate and bear more of the burden."

Fresh off his Saturday victory at the Giro di Lombardia, Damiano Cunego will team up with World Champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre). Other favorite pairings will include last year's winners Vincenzo Nibali - Roman Kreuziker (Liquigas) and Cadel Evans - Matthew Lloyd (Silence - Lotto).

In total, 20 two-man teams are set to start the race against the clock on Sunday morning. Teams will be started at one minute intervals excepting the final six, which will go off every two minutes.

2009 Coppa Lella Mentasti Roster
Marco Bandiera - Andrea Grendene (Lampre)
Fabrice Piemontesi - Fabrizio Reda (NCG Medical)
Giampaolo Cheula - Diego Caccia (Barloworld)
Maurizio Biondo - Adriano Angeloni (Flaminia - Bossini)
Francesco Tomei - Mauro Finetto (CSF Navigare)
Marco Marzano - Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre)
Andrea Tonti - Davide Vigano (Quick Step)
Francesco Ginanni - Santo Anza (Diquigiovanni)
Mauro Santambrogio - Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre)
Marco Velo - Fabio Sabatini (Team Milram)
Luca Paolini - Failli Francesco (Acqua&Sapone)
Gabriele Bosisio- Paolo Bailetti (LPR Ballan)
Leonardo Bertagnolli - Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas)
Giovanni Visconti - Leonardo Scarselli (Quick Step)
Michael Rogers - Scott Davis (Team Columbia)
Danilo Di Luca - Alessandro Petacchi (LPR)
Cadel Evans - Matthew Lloyd (Silence - Lotto)
Carlos Sastre - Volodymir Gustov (CSC)
Alessandro Ballan - Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
Vincenzo Nibali - Roman Kreuziker (Liquigas)

CSC one-two at Herald Sun Tour

Stuart O'Grady
Photo ©: Richard Robson
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC Saxo Bank went one-two in the final classification of the Herald Sun Tour which ended with a 66km kilometer stage on the streets of Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday. First place went to Stuart O'Grady while Lars Back finished second. Toyota - United's Benjamin Day finished third.

Barloworld's Daryl Impey managed to stay half a minute clear of the peloton and took the final stage win by beating Panasonic's Chris Jongeward of their two-man breakaway. Matthew Goss, also of CSC Saxo Bank, maintained his green jersey by winning the mass sprint in the peloton which also gave him third place in the stage.

"It feels bloody fantastic. I didn't want to celebrate anything untll the race was all done," said O'Grady according to "In bike racing anything can happen - that's the beauty of the sport - but in the end we managed to pull it off. I was expecting a little more attacking in the final stage but everyone has had a pretty tough week with fast racing from start to finish in each stage, so when the boys hit the front of the peloton they were in control."

O'Grady's win came one year after he returned to action following a serious crash at the 2007 Tour de France.

"I came back last year [his first race back after the crash - ed.] and I was shocked with how good the race was run. I convinced the team to join the race this year and I'm sure all the boys here are happy to have been in this race," said O'Grady.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Herald Sun Tour.

Gianetti announces new ProTour team

On Saturday, Mauro Gianetti, currently of the Scott American Beef team, issued a statement confirming the formation of a new professional cycling team which will race internationally as part of the UCI's ProTour.

"The main sponsor is an Italian company with international interests and subsidiaries in nine countries in Europe and the rest of the world," said Gianetti. "The Team Manager will be Alvaro Crespi, who already held this post in the MAPEI and Quick Step teams." Joxean Fernandez Matxin will serve as Director Sportif.

"In the coming days will convene a press conference to offer more details," he promised.

The news comes after doping scandals broke during 2008 for Gianetti's current team which was called Saunier Duval for the first half of the 2008 season. During the Tour de France, the team's Ricardo Riccò tested positive for EPO CERA and the entire squad withdrew from the event. Later teammate Leonardo Piepoli also tested positive for the same substance. Both riders won stages in the Tour de France before the team withdrew from the event and Saunier Duval withdrew from its sponsorship role.

Scott Bicycles and American Beef stepped up to see the team through the remainder of the 2008 season, but Scott previously announced its sponsorship would end with the calendar year.

Contador staying put

Alberto Contador
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Addressing speculation about his future, Spaniard Alberto Contador confirmed that he is staying with his Team Astana for the 2009 season despite American Lance Armstrong's return to professional racing with the Astana squad. Contador had previously indicated that he had some doubts about how Armstrong's joining the team might affect his own goals for 2009.

Contador reiterated his intentions in an interview Saturday with AFP. "I have analyzed the situation and my alternatives and after a meeting with my director Johan Bruyneel to discuss what's happened in recent months and what has been published in the media, we have dismissed any tensions between us."

"I believe that things will be better than when I first looked at the situation," said Contator. "If we each stick to our schedule, there will be no problems. It's a pleasure to find myself on the same team as a rider I have always admired."

Looking forward to the Tour de France, to which the Astana team was not invited in 2008, he predicted that the team would be well managed and there would be no problems. Armstrong won the French Grand Tour a record seven times before retiring in 2005.

Armstrong recently announced his intentions to compete in the Giro d'Italia. He is not scheduled to attend next week's 2009 Tour de France presentation, where many favorites to win the 2009 edition, including Contador, will be present.

Armstrong's coach recognized

Kristin Armstrong shows off her gold medal,
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

Jim Miller, the coach of 2008 Olympic Games time trial gold medal winner Kristin Armstrong, was awarded the Order of Ikkos medallion by the US Olympic Committee for his role at the Olympic Games in Beijing. The Order of Ikkos is named after Ikkos of Tarentum, the first recognized coach of athletes according to Greek history and champion pentathlete in 444 B.C. The award is presented to the personal coach of US Olympic Games medalists.

Miller, who serves as the Director of Endurance Programs for USA Cycling, received recognition from USOC Coaching Education Manager Cathy Sellers during a brief ceremony Wednesday at a coaching summit.

"Although Kristin winning the gold medal in Beijing was reward enough for me, it's an honor to be recognized by the USOC as a component to Kristin's success," Miller said. "In our profession, it should always be about the athlete, but for the USOC to take the time to recognize the coaches of Olympic medalists is nice."

Miller has been Armstrong's coach since 2002 and has played an important role in her many successes including a world time trial title, three world championship medals and five national titles.

"Winning the Olympic gold didn't happen overnight," Armstrong said. "It has been six years of hard work from not only myself, but also from Jim. As I have grown as an athlete, Jim has grown beside me as a coach, always keeping me one step ahead. One of the keys to my sustained success at the international level has been Jim keeping my program interesting.

"After medaling and then winning the world championship (in 2006), one would think, 'if it's not broken, then why fix it?' But Jim has always taken a different approach when training me. He is always thinking about how he can make me faster physiologically as well as keeping on top of the latest equipment and technology trends," said Armstrong. "There hasn't been a year that's gone by in which we've done the exact same program. There is always change, which keeps training interesting and both of us motivated.

"Once we have success or failure, we put our heads together and talk about what our next goal is. It has been an amazing partnership. We won this Olympic gold medal together."

Parrish joins Kenda Pro Cycling

U23 cyclist Jonathan Parrish has signed for 2009 with Kenda Pro Cycling presented by Spinergy team, known until recently as Team Inferno. A graduate of the U23 program at the Cycling Center, Parrish's signing reunites him with other Cycling Center Alumni Jacob Rytlewski, Jaime Gandara and Bennet van der Genugten, who raced along side Parrish in Belgium in 2004.

"We are all extremely fortunate to have him on board as we have now gained a loyal, talented, hard working, and extremely enthusiastic teammate," said new teammate Gandara.

"With the added depth of Jonathan we now have more horse power... for NRC and ProTour events," said Team Director Chad Thompson.

In addition to Parrish, the squad also recently picked up more support in the form of sponsorship from Traveler's Insurance.

Burnaby Six Day postponed

Originally scheduled to start in December 2008 and end January 3, 2009, the fourth edition of the Six Days of Burnaby has been postponed until a similar holiday slot in 2009-2010. Burnaby Velodrome Club Program Coordinator and Six Day organizer Jeremy Storie cited poor economic conditions and volunteer overload as reasons for giving the event a break.

"We have a good sized club that continues to grow, but our core group of volunteers remains the same. Our hosting of the late August National Championships for all categories coupled with difficulty in finding complete sponsorship due to the economic downturn led us to make the tough decision to postpone for a year," said Storie.

"Last year was another great increase in profile for the event but we did not want to take a step backwards and put on a lesser event. We will be back with a bigger and better show than ever in 2009-2010."

In 2007-08, the Six Days of Burnaby had a field of 12 North American professional teams featuring the world number two ranked Madison team at the time from Slipstream Sports (now Garmin / Chipotle) as well as the winning Symmetrics duo of Svein Tuft and Zach Bell (both seventh in their respective Olympic events). Tuft also took silver at the UCI Time Trial World Championships last month.

A smaller three-day, more local event may be held during the dates originally set aside for the six-day race.

Southport signs up for British Tour Series

Southport has been signed as the latest venue to join The Tour Series for 2009 announced last week. The city, which hosted a sprint on the final stage of this year's Tour of Britian, joins Woking as one of the first venues to become part of the series.

The Tour Series is aiming to help the development of cycling in Southport, one of Cycling England's Cycling Towns, not just on the day of the event itself, but also throughout the year.

"Thousands of people turned out to see the Tour of Britain pass through Lord Street in September and this helped us realise that the new Tour Series could provide an exciting new opportunity for the resort," said Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Technical Services.

"Over the coming months, we will continue to work with the Tour Series organisers to make this inaugural event a night to remember."

Rather than focussing on individual athletic achievement, The Tour Series will instead focus on teams, with ten squads of five riders taking part in the series. With Britain's top domestic teams taking part, plus special guest stars, series is aiming for action-packed racing on a circuit at the heart of Southport next summer.

Cycling BC to host first conference

Cycling BC will host its first annual Cycling BC Coaches Conference on November 22. The conference is open to coaches from across the province and throughout the Pacific Northwest. It will provide coaches with a forum to discuss performance and sports development talks tied to the theme of "Innovative Coaching: New Approaches to Cycling Success".

Four presenters will share their knowledge. Richard Wooles, Cycling BC Provincial Head Coach and Director of High Performance, will discuss the Cycling BC athlete devlopment model and his experience inside the British system; Two-time Olympic coach Kurt Innes will talk about building training plans; Cycling BC Youth Coach Dan Proulx will describe the process of developing cyclists from regional athletes to Olympians; and Cycling BC's Provincial MTB Coach Steve Lund will present on technical aspects of sporting performance.

Conference proceeds will benefit the Cycling BC Junior team. Up to 100 seats are available. Admission is free for those with Cycling BC licenses and CAN$10 for all others.

To reserve your seat, email Paul Crosby (

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