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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, October 21, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Contador heads cycling's new era

Spain's Alberto Contador, 25, is out for more in 2009
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Alberto Contador had a stellar 2008 season and at 25 he knows there is still a lot to accomplish. The Spaniard, winner of this year's Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, indicated his desire to improve in a new era of cycling.

"You think that I can continue to win all the Grand Tours that I dispute? I am young, and I've already accomplished a lot but my motivation is intact. I know that I also have the chance to signal a new period in cycling. To do this will be hard, but just thinking of doing it is an enormous challenge that I like," he said to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

In addition to winning two Grand Tours in 2008, Team Astana's Contador won two stages and the overall of Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, two stages and the overall of País Vasco, and two stages at the Vuelta a España.

Modestly, Contador would not judge himself as the best cyclist of 2008. "But I look at what I did: Giro, Vuelta – ten victories in total. For a rider of my characteristics, with the programme that I had, it was the best possible. I would not change my year with any other rider."

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The world first took note of him in 2007 with his overall wins in Paris-Nice and the Tour de France. He is only one of five cyclists – with Belgian Eddy Merckx, Italian Felice Gimondi and Frenchmen Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil – to ever win all three Grand Tours, but he wants to improve in time trailling and the Spring Classics.

"I made the difference because I can recuperate well and because of my mentality. With respect to the other climbers I go well in the crono. However, in the climbs and against the watch I can do better.

"What other races would I like to win? The Flèche Wallonne, climb on the Mur de Huy is so hard. Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the most complicated of the Classics. The Worlds, if they have an edition for climbers like the 1995 edition in Duitama, Colombia."

Contador will focus on the Tour de France in 2009 and he will not race the Giro d'Italia. His new teammate, Lance Armstrong, will represent Astana at the Giro d'Italia.

Valverde takes ProTour award and sacrifices all for 2009 Tour

Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in the ProTour top after the Clásica San Sebastián
Photo ©: Sirotti
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The International Cycling Union (UCI) awarded Spaniard Alejandro Valverde the 2008 ProTour title yesterday. President of the UCI ProTour Council, Vittorio Adorni, made the presentation at Team Caisse d'Epargne headquarters in Paris, where the 28 year-old cyclist stated his intentions to "sacrifice all" for the 2009 Tour.

"Behind these trophies are Alejandro Valverde's talent, regularity and constancy as well as his Caisse d'Epargne teammates' devotion," said Eusebio Unzúe, general manager of Caisse d'Epargne. "These results are the fruit of our philosophy, which is to start in every race with the desire to win it."

Valverde claimed 13 wins this year, which included stage one and two days in the leader's maillot jaune the Tour de France. The Spanish team also took the ProTour's award for best team yesterday.

"There is no doubt this one is the best of my sporting career until now," said Valverde. "I showed that I am a very complete rider. This was not only is thanks to my victories in the races like the Dauphiné Libéré and the Clásica San Sebastián – which allowed me to win the classification of the UCI ProTour – but also thanks to my victory in a big Classics like Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Spanish championship and my stage victories in the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.

"They are all important, but I think the one which is the more important for me is the first stage of the Tour de France, which gave me the yellow jersey. It was an objective and also a great emotion."

Valverde has aimed at the overall title of the Tour de France since 2006. This year he fell short of the objective due to a crash and a bad day on the way to stage 10's Hautacam.

"I paid the consequences of the crash that happened a few days before – that is life. You have to look ahead. ... I really believe the crash was the most important element and that explains why my legs hurt so much while climbing the Tourmalet. It was a stupid crash, but those are normally the he most harmful ones.

"In 2009, I would like to race less before the start of the Tour in Monaco and not start racing before the end of March in order to, at least one time, base my season on the Tour only. I am convinced that, if I am lucky, I can climb on the podium and, who knows, even win the Tour. I am ready to sacrifice all the other races in order to reach that goal, at least to try it one year."

The ProTour is a series of races throughout the year. There were 15 races this year, starting with the Tour Down Under and ending with the Tour de Pologne.

Sastre joins Cunego and Armstrong at Giro

Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre will race the 2009 Giro d'Italia, according to Het Laatste Nieuws. The 33 year-old Spaniard is the third big name to announce his participation in the event after USA's Lance Armstrong and Italy's Damiano Cunego.

"For that I would give up starting in the Vuelta a España," said Sastre. Organisers RCS Sport will hold the Giro d'Italia May 9 to 31, 2009.

Carlos Sastre won the Tour in July for Team CSC. He announced in September he would leave the team to join Cervélo Test Team in 2009. Thor Hushovd and Iñigo Cuesta are joining Sastre in the newly formed team.

Savio renews promising Ginanni

Francesco Ginanni, 23, re-signs with Team Diquigiovanni
Photo ©: Sirotti
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Gianni Savio, head of Team Diquigiovanni, re-signed Francesco Ginanni for two years at the Giro di Lombardia. Pundits consider the Italian, winner of three races in his first season, one of his country's most promising riders.

"He is a rider who has a lot of room for improvement," said Savio to Cyclingnews. "He has the talent to win one-day races, but he is not a pure climber as we see in Grand Tours."

Gianni, 23 years old from Pistoia, won the Giro del Veneto, Tre Valli Varesine and Gran Premio Carnago this year. As a consequence of his results, Franco Ballerini selected him as one of two reserve for the World Championship team on September 15.

"We followed him as an amateur his talent to read races was obvious. We noted his ability to attack on sharp and short climbs this year the Tour de San Luis, in Argentina.

He rode as an amateur with Finauto for two years before turning professional this year with Savio. Diquigiovanni is also the home of Gilberto Simoni and Alessandro Bertolini.

"The ambience of our team was a reason for him to stay and not join a bigger Italian team. We don't put pressure on the riders for results."

Continuing tech coverage of the 2008 Interbike show

Had enough of Interbike yet? The show doors may have closed a few weeks back but Cyclingnews technical editor James Huang still has more information on new items to come for the 2009 season.

In the most recent Interbike edition, he covers stationary trainers to messenger bags. Crumpler, GoPro, Knog, Tifosi, Thule and Blown are all featured by Cyclingnews.

Be sure to pay a visit to our video section for interviews from the show. There are such notables as Team Columbia's George Hincapie, Roberta Ghilardi of Las Helmets and Marco Bonelli of Max Lelli Cycles.

Check back regularly to see what's new in the world of tech as we begin to wind down our coverage from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Procycling's racing photographs available online

By Peter Cossins, Procycling

Few would dispute that cycling is one of the most photogenic sports around. Many would also claim – and I would certainly support them – that Procycling photographer Tim De Waele is currently the best snapper of pro racing shots around. And now, thanks to the opening of Procycling’s new picture gallery, cycling fans anywhere in the world can buy a huge range of Tim’s pics online and have them delivered within just a few days.

The Procycling picture gallery went live just after the end of the Tour de France and business is already brisk with fans buying both framed and unframed prints of the likes of Mark Cavendish, Carlos Sastre and Cadel Evans in action at the Tour. The gallery also features many of Tim’s spectacular scenic shots that often appear in the opening pages of Procycling in the Freezeframe section.

More sections are being added to the gallery all the time, including images from the Giro, the Beijing Olympics and the Vuelta. Also available are all of the Freezeframe images that have appeared in Procycling during 2008.

There are already dozens of prints in the gallery that would make a perfect birthday or Christmas present for any cycling fan, and more are going to be added at regular intervals. Look out for new sections covering the Worlds, as well as the best of the off-road action this winter.

To see the stunning images that are currently available in the Procycling gallery, go to If there any images you would like to see added to the gallery you can let us know by emailing Procycling here.

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