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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, October 20, 2008

Edited by Sue George

Nys unfazed by black eye

By Brecht Decaluwé in Kalmthout

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner), with his black eye, waits on the podium
Photo ©: Isosport
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) didn't let a black eye slow him down on the way to victory at the opening round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Kalmthout, Belgium, on Sunday. Despite injuring himself in a fall during Saturday's Kleicross in Lebbeke, Belgium, on Saturday, Nys proved he was ready for action again on Sunday morning.

"I've had a relatively good night's sleep," he said before the start. "My left eye is swollen and looks quite bright blue. But my vision is good enough and the risks are not too great to start. Furthermore, I have two swollen fingers on my left hand and my right upper arm is also in pain. But that is cyclo-cross."

Although compatriot Niels Albert (Palman Cras) performed a majority of the work at the front of the race, Nys bested him in a final two-man sprint. For a brief time after Nys suffered a tire problem which caused him to drop back, Albert was off the front alone, but Nys worked to catch him.

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Albert seldom looked back during the final eight laps of the race. He seemed to notice that Nys had bridged back up, but he never asked the Belgian champion to do any work.

"Together with Nys I was the strongest man in the race," Albert said. "I knew he was on his limit because I was riding against my limit as well. Maybe I could've ridden more tactically and allowed him to take the lead, but then maybe the others could have caught back up to us, and winning that sprint is far more difficult."

Albert led out the short headwind sprint, while a cagey Nys waited just long enough to overtake his younger compatriot on the line to grab the first World Cup race of the season.

When asked about the eye problem Nys faced after Saturday's crash, the Belgian champion replied, "My eye? Today I was mainly confronted with pain in my legs," he said.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite men's and elite women's UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Kalmthout.

Sánchez's future confirmed

Sanchez was happy to be at the start of Saturday's Giro di Lombardia
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Olympic Games road race gold medalist Samuel Sánchez confirmed that he will stay with his Euskaltel Euskadi for another three years, until 2010.

"I am very happy and satisfied. This is my lifetime team, and I am sincere. I have never imagined myself in another jersey..." said Sánchez.

The Spaniard had previously announced his intentions to stick with his orange-clad teammates on Euskaltel Euskadi, but at the time, he had not yet signed a contract.

On Saturday, Sánchez finished 27th in the Giro di Lombardia, in a group 1'34" behind solo winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre).

Cunego fears Armstrong for Giro d'Italia

By Gregor Brown in Como

Lance Armstrong before his comeback was official
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
(Click for larger image)

Damiano Cunego marked Lance Armstrong as favourite number one for the 2009 Giro d'Italia following his victory in the Giro di Lombardia Saturday. The Italian of Team Lampre, 27, ranked the seven-time Tour de France champion over Ivan Basso.

"There will be lot of dangerous rivals there, and next year there will be an additional one with Lance Armstrong. Ivan Basso? Armstrong gives me more fear," said Cunego.

Cunego won the Giro d'Italia in 2004 and the best young rider's maillot blanc in the 2006 Tour de France, but he has never faced the American Armstrong in a Grand Tour. Cunego would like to repeat his first Giro victory in 2009, when the Giro d'Italia celebrates 100 years since its first edition.

"Certainly, the Giro will be ridden because it is the centenary, and you need Italians there to contest it."

In 2006, Cunego faced and lost to a dominant Basso, who will be back after serving a 16-month ban for doping. Basso will target the 2009 Giro d'Italia along with Armstrong and Cunego.

"We all know Armstrong and his palmarès – seven Tours. If he comes to the Giro he will be the number one favourite. He will not come here for a vacation; he will be here to win."

Armstrong criticised Cunego's stage racing capabilities prior to the 2008 Tour de France. He claimed Cunego is not suited for the French race – "He'll never win the Tour" – but a battle will hard fought on Cunego's home turf.

"I am not [a certainty] for the Grant Tours according to some, but I will try to silence those people," Cunego commented Saturday.

Cunego's win in the Giro di Lombardia on Saturday was his second one-day Classic win of 2008. The win was also his third in the race in addition to 2004 and 2007.

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

January 18, 2009 - Armstrong announces start of Catlin's drug testing programme
January 8, 2009 - Armstrong impresses Carmichael prior to Tour Down Under
January 7, 2009 - Armstrong believes Team Astana can dominate Tour
December 10, 2008 - Merckx: Armstrong's return good for cycling and Giro
December 8, 2008 - Armstrong climbs Teide
December 6, 2008 - Rast on life with Armstrong
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong considers Tour of Ireland
December 5, 2008 - Armstrong: Contador is the best
December 4, 2008 - Horner unites with Armstrong despite past differences
December 3, 2008 - Armstrong and Contador ride separate paths towards Tour
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong surfs with Astana
December 2, 2008 - Armstrong plans to race Tour
December 1, 2008 - Armstrong's anti-doping testing program pending
November 23, 2008 - Media out of love with Armstrong?
November 22, 2008 - Andreu caught up in Armstrong fight again
November 19, 2008 - Armstrong concerned about Tour safety
November 17, 2008 - Armstrong to meet with ASO
November 9, 2008 - Armstrong racing in Texas again
November 7, 2008 - Exclusive Armstrong wind tunnel video
November 7, 2008 - Lance Armstrong speaks at Web 2.0 conference
November 6, 2008 - Carmichael dials in Armstrong's comeback training
November 5, 2008 - Armstrong looking for balance
November 5, 2008 - Photos from Armstrong's wind tunnel test
November 3, 2008 - Armstrong doubles up and heads to wind tunnel

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Lance Armstrong's comeback

Italian giants to meet at Japan Cup

By Miwako Sasaki

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

The 17th Japan Cup has been shaping up to be a historic battle between two Italian stars. The newly upgraded "HC" UCI - category race will start next Sunday, October 26 and feature Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) as the two top crowd favorites.

Basso will compete just two days after the end of a two-year suspension he is serving after admitting his intention to dope in conjunction with Operaciòn Puerto.

''The team wanted to give me a gift and they are allowing me to participate in the Japan Cup. I go into it with great motivation and in satisfactory condition," said Basso. It will be the first time his Liquigas team participates in the Japan Cup.

Not having raced during his suspension, no one knows what to expect of Basso. On the other hand, recent Giro di Lombardia winner Damiano Cunego is a surer bet as a favorite at the Japan Cup, which he will race with his Lampre teammates. Cunego won the race in 2005, and the 2008 edition will mark his team's seventh appearance, so he and his teammates know the course well.

''I couldn't go to the race during the past few years because I just had other appointments," said Cunego to the Japanese magazine Cycle Sports back in June. "But I have a special memory of Japan. I remember that a lot of fans cheered me from the roadside.''

A third man, another Italian, has thrown his hat into the ring and will mix it up with the favorites. Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step), a former national champion and maglia rosa wearer, finished fourth in Saturday's Giro di Lombardia.

Teams for 2008 Japan Cup: Lampre, Liquigas, Quick Step, Bouygues Telecom, Skil - Shimano, Trek - Marco Polo Cycling Team, Giant Asia Racing Team, Aisan Racing Team, Matrix Powertag, Meitan Hompo - GDR, Team Bridgestone Anchor, Nippo - Endeka, Japan National Team

McGee gets career makeover

By Hedwig Kröner

Brad McGee
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Olympic Gold medallist Bradley McGee is turning a page. At 32 years of age, the Australian pursuit specialist has decided to end his career as a pro cyclist and become a directeur sportif with his present team, CSC Saxo Bank. Despite having scored many victories, McGee felt the time was right for a new challenge, as the 11th year of his career yet again provided more than enough bad luck for him.

A junior world champion and world record holder in the individual pursuit, Brad McGee collected his first Olympic medal in Atlanta in 1996, two years before turning professional. In 1998, French team La Française des Jeux put its money on him and wasn't let down; the track specialist was also a gifted road racer, which he displayed with stage wins at the Tour de France and the Dauphiné Libéré during his breakthrough year, 2002.

He scaled even greater heights by winning the prologues of two Grand Tours (France in 2003 and Italy in 2004, only narrowly missing one in Spain in 2005). Nevertheless, he had worn the overall leader's jerseys of all three of the world's most prestigious national tours.

Read the complete feature.

Vanderaerden lightens up for Crocodile Trophy

Belgian Marc Herremans motivated Eric Vanderaerden
Photo ©: John Flynn
(Click for larger image)

Former (1987) Paris-Roubaix champion Eric Vanderaerden has been hard at work to prepare for the Crocodile Trophy, a mountain bike stage race in the Australian Outback starting on Tuesday, October 21. The 46 year-old Vanderaerden, who announced his preparation several weeks ago, arrived in Cairns almost unrecognizable after losing his mullet style hair-do and spare tire.

Looking light and fit, Vanderaerden, a Tour de France green jersey winner and yellow jersey wearer, started training seriously last winter in Belgium.

"I needed my fat burning down because I weighed too much last winter, and my wife said to me, 'It's time you work something out'," a 20kg lighter Vanderaerden said. "I said OK, I'll do the Crocodile Trophy again, but this time on a bike, not with the car with my friends." Last time around, Vanderaerden attend the race, but in the capacity of support crew, not as a racer.

Vanderaerden will be one of 30 Belgians on the start line in Mareeba. "I think every year it gets bigger and more Belgians know what it is, the Crocodile," Vanderaerden said. "One special thing I think for the Belgians, it's just one big adventure. It's a special challenge, a special holiday."

Last year, compatriot Marc Herremans helped raised the profile of the event when he completed the entire edition on a hand cycle. Herreman's sheer determination motivated Vanderaerden.

"What Marc do last year I think is incredible. Probably there will be days when I say what am I doing here? But I love Australia, I love the outback and I want to finish the Crocodile."

It will be Vanderaerden's second attempt. In 2000, he won two stages before abandoning with an ailment he attributed to "posterior trauma".

The ten-day, ten-stage race will finish 1200km later at Cape Tribulation on October 30.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage of the Crocodile Trophy.

Sanchis signs with Safi-Pasta Zara

Spaniard Anna Sanchis will ride in the colors of the Italian team Safi-Pasta Zara in 2009. Sanchis, who is from Xŕtiva but spent the past two seasons based in Valenciana, travelled to Italy on Saturday to finalize her new deal.

"The contract is for one season, and my main objective will be the Giro d'Italia," said Sanchis on her 21st birthday. "The timing was a coincidence, but a nice birthday present nonetheless."

"The directors of the team showed interest in me during the last Giro d'Italia, in which I finished seventh overall and second in the best young rider classification, which in Italy is for those under 24 years-old," she said. She was also 19th at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Sanchis has been keeping herself more than busy by by pursuing medical studies in addition to racing, but next year she plans to scale back her scholarly efforts. "I will take on only a few subjects because I want to be strong on the bike."

The U23 Spanish champion will join Basque racer Eneritz Iturriaga on the squad as well as have a chance to learn from the team leader and former world champion Diana Ziliute of Lithuania.

Pairs time trial together in Borgomanero

Fabio Sabatini and Marco Velo of Team Milram
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Marco Velo and Fabio Sabatini (Team Milram) proved themselves as the fastest racers at the Trofeo Cittŕ di Borgomanero. The duo covered the 52km course in one hour, one minute and 27 seconds for an average speed of over 50km/h. Velo and Sabatini finished 44 seconds ahead of the Barloworld pair of Giampaolo Cheula and Diego Caccia. Fabrice Piemontesi and Reda Fabrizio (both of NCG Medical) took third place.

World Champion Alessandro Ballan and Saturday's Giro di Lombardia winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre) finished fifth.

Along with the racing, the Head of Sport at the Piedmont Region, Giuliana Manica, presented a gift of 40 bikes for use by youth.

See Cyclingnews' full results and photos from the 5th Trofeo Cittŕ di Borgomanero.

Team Colavita recruiting

Team Colavita Racing Club is looking for new members across the US including in Connecticut, Arizona, Chicago, northern and southern California, Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, the South, New England, New Jersey and Texas.

Regional team members will receive discounts, pre-season and factory deals, a place to post personal results, team camaraderie and consideration for future Pro Team spots.

Interested cyclists should contact the team nearest them. Visit for a complete list.

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