First Edition Cycling News, October 26, 2008
Edited by Sue George
Van Heerden wins first international title in Hong Kong
South African sprinter Christoff van Heerden won his first international cycling title by capturing the general classification at the Tour of Hong Kong Shanghai in China on Saturday.
Van Heerden finished third on the final stage, a 78km circuit race in the city of Shanghai, which netted him a small time bonus and extended his final margin of victory over Australian Boadley Hall to 32 seconds. Van Heerden also won the points classification and the Asia-Pacific region classification. The final stage was taken by Malaysian Akmal Amrun ahead of Van Heerden's Konica Minolta teammate, Adam Blythe.
"It feels great to finally win an international race," said an elated Van Heerden, who finished second at the Tour of Pennsylvania in June. "The stages here were mostly short and fast and the racing was similar to what we have back home in South Africa, quick and aggressive from the start!"
Van Heerden won the opening stage and briefly relinquished the yellow jersey to Blythe after stage before regaining it on Stage 3a. Then Hong Kong's King Wai Cheung succeeded in wresting the lead from the 23 year-old South African after a brave breakaway on Stage 4. But aggressive riding on stage 5 gave Van Heerden his second stage win and the leader's jersey, which he kept firmly on his shoulders with a podium finish on the final stage
"Fourth time lucky!" said a smiling Konica Minolta team boss John Robertson. "Our team has had runner-up finishes at the 2006 Tour of Japan, the 2006 GP Tell and this year's Tour of Pennsylvania. Christoff rode really well and deserved the win, but obviously it was a combined team effort that made it possible."
"Our form and confidence are at a peak right now," said Van Heerden said of himself and his team. "That's going to be beneficial as we tackle the big end-of-year races in South Africa. Hopefully we can get more wins."
Cavendish staying on the road
Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish, a star on both the road and the track, has decided how he will focus his 2009 season.
"I will concentrate on the road," said Cavendish to hln.be. One of his primary objectives will be to win the green jersey at the Tour de France.
The 23 year-old British racer had a spectacular season. He has 17 victories, more wins than any other pro so far in 2008. Cavendish won the track world championship in the Madison early last spring before taking several wins during the spring road season. He also won four stages at the Tour de France before withdrawing to prepare for the Olympic Games.
Other highlights have included stage wins at the Ster Elektrotoer (one), the Tour of Ireland (three), the Tour of Missouri (three plus the sprint classification), the Tour de Romandie (prologue) and the Giro d'Italia (two).
Grivko wins Firenze-Pistoia
Andrey Grivko of Team Milram won the Firenze-Pistoia time trial on Saturday, covering the 30 kilometres 10 seconds ahead of Columbia's Marco Pinotti. Dario Cioni of Silence-Lotto was third.
Milram placed three riders in the top ten, with Fabio Sabatini finishing seventh and Brett Lancaster ninth. "That is a great way for our team to end the season," said team manager Gerry van Gerwen. "Our riders have really shown their stuff one more time in the last race in Italy. Now they all have earned a break from riding."
It was Grivko's second win of the season, with the first being the victory in the Ukranian national time trial championship.
Vanthourenhout racing despite pain
Sven Vanthourenhout plans to race the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic, on Sunday despite continued pain in his hand and wrist. He broke his wrist and his scaphoid bone in a crash at the at the Grand Prix Olomouc earlier this season.
"It's not pain free, but it's good enough to start," said Vanthourenhout according to sporza.be on the eve of the second World Cup of this season.
Vanthourenhout is working to put his injury behind him and concentrate on the rest of the season. He predicted a fast race on Sunday in Tabor.
Bordry unhappy with UCI doping controls
Pierre Bordry of French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) is unhappy that his agency will not be determining the doping controls for the 2009 Tour de France, and he criticized the UCI's anti-doping effectiveness.
"I didn't go to the Tour presentation because I did not wish to see UCI boss Pat McQuaid," said Pierre Bordry, president of the AFLD according to www.sportwereld.be. "I do not want to carry out checks without saying how it should be done. The UCI is going back in time, without targeted checks. "
Bordry had harsh words for the UCI and its effectiveness in catching dopers. "Between 2003 and 2007, there were no riders caught for EPO," said Bordry. "Well, I got seven in a month! The UCI didn't catch anyone, and we did. [Riccardo] Riccò was already known to have doped in the Giro d'Italia. Where were the UCI? "
Bordry said he didn't think his agency had caught everyone and cited limited resources. "Yet I believe that 80 percent of the peloton is clean."
Lees-McRae & Fort Lewis Colleges do battle at US Collegiate MTB Nationals
The cross country competition kicked off the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships as nearly 200 collegians raced through the campus of Lees-McRae College in North Carolina for the second year in a row. The first day of competition set the stage for an old-fashioned shootout between host Lees-McRae College and last year's overall team winner Fort Lewis College in Division I, while riders from nearby Brevard College and Appalachian State earned the Division II men's and women's crowns respectively.
Despite a strong challenge from Lees-McRae's Scott Stewart, Division I favorite and defending champion Ben Sonntag of Fort Lewis College was able to overtake Stewart on the final lap and repeat his victory from a year ago. Lees-McRae's Brad Perley grabbed third in the DI men's race after another favorite, Rotem Ishay (Fort Lewis College) dropped his chain at the gun, leaving him playing catch-up throughout the nearly 25-mile contest. The University of Oregon's Justin Finn rounded out the podium as the only non-Lees-McRae or Fort Lewis rider in the top five.
"It was harder than last year," said Fort Lewis' Sontag. "Lees-McRae controlled the race from the start with a rider in right in front and behind me. I would make up some on the inclines, but I'd lose that on the downhill. My broken right index finger really affected my control on the descents. It was a good fight; Stewart ran a great race."
The DII men's race saw Midwest conference champion Zach Winn from Union College lead a hard charge out of the gate before succumbing to Brevard College's Tristan Cowie in the fourth of the five-lap affair. After practicing on the course for the past several days, Cowie used his technical expertise to take the win over a talented DII field including podium finishers Logan Wetzel (Western Washington University), Matthew Williams (Warren Wilson College) and Alex Hannah (Appalachian State University).
The DI women's contest was a battle between multiple-time collegiate national road and track national champion Carla Swart of Lees-McRae and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga's Jamie Dinkins. Dinkins, who finished 19th at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships U23 race in June, showed superb strength, but in the end Swart used her home field advantage to take home another crown by more than two minutes. The University of Colorado-Boulder's Eszter Horanyi took third while a pair of Fort Lewis riders, Teal Stetson-Lee and downhill specialist Sage Wilderman added to their team's point total.
"The course was pretty muddy, but it was easier and a lot more fun than last year," said Swart of the once-again wet Lees-McRae terrain. "I told myself to stay relaxed because when I get too fired up I can make mistakes."
After missing the race start, Appalachian State University's Rebecca Tomascewski came roaring back to take a slim victory in the DII women's race. Tomascewski narrowly out rode Melissa Marts (Colorado School of Mines) and Katherine Harris (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the rain shortened 15-mile race.
Steady rains on Friday caused organizers to cancel the downhill seeding runs though the finals will continue as scheduled. The dual slalom, short track and downhill titles are still to be decided.
Matxin unhappy with Madrazo's signing
By Monika Prell
Caisse d'Epargne's signing of the young Ángel Madrazo caused a quarrel between the rider and Scott - American Beef's sport manager Josean Fernández Matxin, who said that he feels cheated by Madrazo and his manager, Fernando Ateca.
"I had a covenant with the rider, and I feel deceived," said Matxin to todociclismo. "I won't criticize Eusebio Unzué. They offered him a contract and he signed. I don't have anything to say." What upsets Matxin is that "they had wrapped up the deal, and he went on calling me to define a contract."
Madrazo rode for the amateur version of the Scott-American Beef team, formerly Team Saunier Duval, and he is seen as one of Spanish Cycling's most promising riders. Going to the ProTour in 2009 was the next logical step for Maxtin.
"Madrazo is a very young rider, and I believe that his debut in professional cycling is not happening in the best way possible. He always said that he wanted to ride in my team, and in the end he did not do what he said."
"I gave him freedom to negotiate with the other teams, but when I found the sponsor (for 2009), I called him to guarantee that he would sign with us and to show him my trust...and my trust was repaid by being betrayed," Matxin lamented.
Madrazo reacted promptly. "Matxin gave us the green light to negotiate, and he only asked us to sign for a good team, not for a second tier team," said Madrazo to todociclismo. 'In the end, I got the Caisse d'Epargne offer, and I that it's normal I accepted. It's already October 25, and Matxin still has not announced the name of his team's sponsor for 2009. What should I wait for? And what happens if in the end nothing emerges?"
The 20 year-old Madrazo added, "I felt comfortable on the amateur team, and I insist that Enrique Aja [Director of the amateur Scott American Beef team] had no bearing on what happened. The decision to go to Caisse d'Epargne is mine," he confirmed.
Next up, Madrazo said he will focus on fulfilling expectations of his new team, which recently won the UCI ProTour classification. "Now I want to concentrate on my work and show Unzué right away that he had not made a make a mistake in signing me."
Hansen backs young Prete
Adam Hansen of Team Columbia knows that it is tough for a cyclist from Cairns, Australia, to break into the big time, so he is helping young Joshua Prete to follow in his footsteps. Hansen and Hed Cycling are sponsoring the youngster.
Prete, 18, is "a real talent, but lives in an area where support from the government programs is hard to get," Hansen told Cyclingnews, "something like the situation I went through. I would hate for a young talent with a big heart not to get where he wants, because of the place where he lives."
Hed Cycling is a US based components company, which is providing discounted material for Hansen to buy for the youngster.
Prete has racked up some good results in 2008, not only on the road but on the mountain bike, too. In the State Junior road championships, he finished second in the road race and the criterium and fourth in the time trial. In the Herberton 8 Hour Mountain Bike Challenge he was fourth solo expert men and first solo junior. Prete was first junior in the RRR Mountain Bike Race, setting a new junior record time, which was also good enough to give him third place in the overall elite men.
Da Cruz returns to Française des Jeux
After racing for six years on the Française des Jeux team, Carlos Da Cruz will return to his former sponsor's organization, but this time not as a racer.
"The Française des Jeux team offered him the chance to become involved in managing its Foundation's projects," said a company statement according to AFP.
Da Cruz retired from the team at the end of 2007. He may take on a fuller role with the organization after he completes his studies in management and business. The foundation runs programs such as Vélo sans Frontières ("Cycling without Borders") which benefits African cycling and Chti-Ventoux which helps prisoners with re-integration.
(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)