First Edition Cycling News, September 5, 2008
Edited by Sue George
World Champion Bettini shows form with Vuelta stage win
Paolo Bettini proved he is in fine form leading up to the World Championships later this month in Varese, Italy, when he won the 150.1km sixth stage of the Vuelta España from Ciudad Real to Toledo. Bettini defeated Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) and Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in the finale.
It was Bettini's fourth win at the Spanish Grand Tour since 2005.
"Winning in a beautiful city like Toledo is something special," said Bettini. "I'll count this as one of my greatest victories. It was not an easy finish line, but I've had this date marked on my calendar since the starting in Granada.
"I also wish I'd done better in Jaén, but as usual it takes me a couple of days to find my rhythm on the pedals after a period without competitions," he said. "Spanish roads are lucky for me. Ive always found ideal conditions here."
Bettini credited both his team director with a good explanation of the final part of the stage and his team-mates. "The team did a great job sacrificing themselves for me and keeping the group in single file during the last uphill tract," he said. "I saw Gilbert take off in the last meters and I knew it was time to make my move. I gave it my all; I knew I had to position myself in second place at the 200m curve."
In just a few weeks, Bettini will participate in the World Championships on home soil. He will be going for his third consecutive title. "Now I want to work in peace as I look forward to the World Championship. My adversaries? As always, the usual guys. I'm also looking out for Gilbert.
"As far as teams go," added Bettini, "clearly Spain is our closest rival." Coming off an Olympic victory by Samuel Sánchez, Spain will be one of the favorite nations to provide a winner at worlds.
Boonen crashes in Vuelta
Quick Step's Tom Boonen took a fall about 68km after the start of stage six of the Vuelta a España.
"I was just riding along when someone fell in front of me," said Boonen. "A lot of us wound up in a heap on the ground. I've got some pretty good scrapes on my left leg and mostly on my back. This is what's causing me the most pain."
"Fortunately tomorrow is a day of rest," said Boonen of the first scheduled rest day of the Spanish Grand Tour. "I hope to recover well." Boonen's participation going forward is not in doubt. He will be looking for more stage wins to add to his stage three victory.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of stage six of the Vuelta a España.
Sastre calls conference
On Wednesday, the 33 year-old Sastre was first linked to the Katusha team - something he later denied. The same day, he was also rumored to have signed with the Canadian Cervélo TestTeam.
"At the time I make a decision on my future, I will communicate it personally to the media," he said recently.
"Time to say goodbye"
By Monika Prell in Mainz and Susan Westemeyer
A "tour of goodbye" is how Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl sees the Deutschland Tour. His team is ending as of this season, having been unable to find a new sponsor.
"The Deutschland Tour is like a tour of goodbye," Gerolsteiner's Bernhard Kohl told Cyclingnews. "Everywhere you look you see Gerolsteiner fans, many placards with the team's name, or supporter groups for individual riders. It is a nice feeling to see all those fans, but at the same time, it's sad to know that this is our last big race in Germany."
Looking to his future, the Austrian noted that he has already signed with a new team, which he will announce on Monday, September 9. "Of course we are all talking a lot about it on the team. We are all looking for a new employer, not only the riders but also the support crew. It's not that easy. In Germany there is only one ProTour team, that is not enough."
Matthias Russ of Gerolsteiner has signed with that one ProTour team, Team Milram, but wondered what will happen to the others. "The end of Gerolsteiner's sponsorship is a pity, but in the end it was not a surprise. I already signed a contract with Milram," he noted. "Milram will change a lot next year. I don't know what happens to the other riders and the support staff from Gerolsteiner. Some have got a new contract, others are still looking."
Gerdemann angry at "liar" Veikkanen
Jussi Veikkanen won the sixth stage of the Deutschland Tour by taking the sprint of a successful escape group, but he may have made an enemy along the way. Shortly before the escape got away, Linus Gerdemann, who is leading the race, asked the Francaise des Jeux rider how far back he was.
"He told me ten minutes," Gerdemann told the ARD German television sender, so the Team Columbia rider let the escape group go.
However, he was later informed by Directeur Sportif Jan Schaffrath that the Finnish champion was actually only five and a half minutes back. After the stage, Gerdemann criticized Veikkanen as "a liar", saying, "If I had known that, I wouldn't have let him go. He'll get paid back for that. The cycling world is small. We'll meet again..."
Veikkanen denied the charges saying, "I told him that I was five and a half minutes back. Maybe Gerdemann didn't hear it right or it was a misunderstanding," he told the dpa.
Wichmann collects first win of the season
Columbia's Anke Wichmann clinched her first win of the season when she out-sprinted fellow German Sarah Düster at the end of stage three of the Holland Ladies Tour. The two were part of a earlier six-rider break, but Wichmann and Duster used a cobbled section eight kilometres from the finish at Roden to go clear and fight it out for the day's victory.
"I'm surprised but very pleased because normally I'm just a team worker and I'm not up there with the winners at the finish, I've done my job before then," Wichmann pointed out. "In fact, I can't remember the last time I won a race!"
"When I got in the break, I stopped working when we got a minute on the bunch, because there were riders in there who could be dangerous for Columbia's GC contenders on the hilly last stage."
"Then when we got towards the finish, I started thinking about how I could get away to try and win the stage. I jumped clear with less than ten kilometres to go, and only Düster could follow me."
"I wasn't too worried about her, because I've raced a lot with her in the past and I know that like me she's not a great sprinter." Düster stopped working in the final kilometre, but Wichmann stayed behind, and with 500 metres to go, Düster started to wind things up for the sprint.
"She'd gotten nervous, and I could get past her for the win," Wichmann said. "I'm just very pleased it could all work out in the end!"
Wichmann's breakaway had other benefits apart from the stage win - she moved up to fourth overall.
The Holland Ladies Tour wraps up on Sunday September 7.
Becker takes lead in Holland
Charlotte Becker of Equipe Nürnberger took "the biggest success on the road" in her career by taking over the lead in the Holland Ladies Tour from Kirsten Wild (AA-Drink Cycling Team) after stage three. A fifth place finish was enough to give her the overall lead. Anke Wichmann of Columbia won the stage ahead of Cervelo Lifeforce's Sarah Düster.
"That's a huge deal," said Jens Zemke, Equipe's Directeur Sportif. "This race is very important to the Dutch racers and being able to do something like this in such a very strong start field is really a sensation."
With 50 km to go in the 113km stage, a six rider strong group including Becker, 25. The group was able to stay away until the end, when Wichmann and Düster were able to pull away and win by five seconds. Columbia's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg led the peloton over the finish line 1.46 minutes later.
Becker now leads by 52 seconds over Irene den Broeck (AA Drink) and 1.04 over Iris Slappendel (Flexpoint).
"On the road this is surely Lotte's biggest success, simply something enormous," Zemke said. "She has a strong team behind her, which she can rely on. Now of course we want to defend the jersey, since the others already have a pretty big gap because of the time trial. We will do everything we can to support Lotte."
Garcia out of Vuelta Mexico due to tendonitis
Spanish racer Rodrigo Garcia may not be joining his Extremadura-Cycling Solidario team for the Vuelta Mexico because he has tendonitis in his wrist.
Rodrigo Garcia, who had been suffering severe pain in his wrist, visited medical services on Thursday morning, when he was diagnosed tendonitis. He is now on sick leave, will be referred to rehabilitation exercises recommended by the specialist who treated him.
The Tour of Mexico will run from September 13 to 20.
Barredo suffering in Spain
Carlos Barredo had tough day in Spain on Thursday. He finished stage six of the Vuelta a España despite suffering from a fracture in his right scaphoid. The fracture came in a fall near the finish in Puertollano in stage four.
"I have a cast on my right hand, but obviously I can't stand up on the pedals," said Barredo "It's a shame, because otherwise I'm in great shape," he said.
During Friday's rest day, Barredo will undergo further examinations.
South Africa picks provisional team for worlds
South Africa selected its provisional starting squads for the World Championships coming up in Varese, Italy, in late September. The selectors said they sought to balance youth and experience with their choices. Of the teams listed below, up to five U23, six elite men and six elite women will be on the starting line.
U23: John - Lee Augustyn, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg, Jay Thompson, Luthando Kaka, Siphiwe Sowela, Jaco Venter.
Elite men: Robert Hunter, David George, Darren Lill, Kevin Evans, Hanco Kachelhoffer, Nolan Hoffman, Daryl Impey, Christoff Van Heerden.
Elite women: Marissa v d Merwe, Cherise Taylor, Chrissie Viljoen, Anriette Schoeman, Yolandi du Toit, Lynette Burger.
An Post looks to deliver in Britain
The An Post sponsored Sean Kelly team will be back in the saddle this weekend, as the eight-stage Tour of Britain gets underway in London this Sunday, September 7.
With the exception of Meath man Mark Cassidy, all the An Post riders who finished the gruelling Tour of Ireland last Sunday are taking part, including Daniel Lloyd, who picked up some nasty injuries in his crash on stage three of the tour.
"I got some bad cuts and bruises to my hands, and found it very hard to get a good grip on the handlebars for the last two days of the Tour of Ireland," said Lloyd, who despite his injuries still managed 15th in the overall classifications.
Lloyd and his fellow Briton Daniel Fleeman both returned to their United Kingdom homes to prepare for the race on Sunday.
"I got out for a ride on Monday, took a rest day on Tuesday, and have been riding hard the last few days," he said "You can't allow yourself time off after a tough race like last week if you want to be in condition to perform again, you have to keep going or your body will seize up."
Fleeman was using his father as a deputy for Team Manager Kurt Bogaerts for the week. "My dad heads on his moped and I have to follow him along on the bike, its great motivation really."
Both riders are hoping to deliver results on what is home soil for them, while Irish riders Paidi O'Brien and Stephen Gallagher are hoping to improve on their good team showing in the Tour of Ireland.
"There are sixteen teams in this race, and it's going to be tough," said Bogaerts, "but I take great confidence in how my team rode in the Tour of Ireland against big teams like Columbia, and I know they should go into this and ride with confidence."
With three stage wins under their belt already this year, from the Ras, the Tour of Extremadura and the Tour de Pyrenees, the An Post team is looking to deliver another final result before the season ends and the World Championships.
"We have had an amazing season, delivering results well above a team of our size and budget," said Bogaerts "I have every confidence that the guys can do the same in Britain next week."
The 2008 Tour of Britain will finish in Liverpool on Sunday, September 14.
Pro racing returns to San Francisco with twilight race
San Francisco's hills will once again be the focus of a major professional bicycle race when the San Francisco Twilight Criterium takes place Saturday, September 13. More than 400 of the best male and female cyclists in the country will line up as the sun sets over the Golden Gate Bridge. The race is round ten in the USA Crits series.
The six-tenths-of-a-mile course around Cow Hollow will provide the backdrop for drama and spectator entertainment. San Francisco's Union Streets and Fillmore Streets will be transformed as part of an eight-block course that will be covered almost once a minute for an hour. A fast plunge down Fillmore Street, technically tricky corners and a false flat around the final turn means fantastic viewing points on almost every corner.
The star cyclists in the peloton Olympians, national champions, and series leaders will be called to the line first and set the scene for an adrenalin-laced evening. An athlete village will offer the opportunity for fans to walk up to the riders and get autographs minutes before the races.
"We are very pleased to host this exciting race after the incredible display of athleticism and sportsmanship at the Beijing Olympics," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "It is very important to support an event like this, which allows members of our local community to compete against the best professional racers in the country, and inspires our youngest to participate in sports and group activities."
For more information, visit www.sftwilight.com.
Two weeks until Goulburn
The 2008 Goulburn to Citi Cycle Classic, to be held on Saturday, September 13, has attracted a record number of teams with every State of Australia represented with one of the world's future rising star, Luke Davison in the mix.
After the success of the Tasmanian team Praties in the 2007 Classic they have decided to double their representation and will have ten riders competing this year. Last year the Tasmanians were unlucky not to finish on the podium, but came second in the team's classification and took out the King of the Mountains title.
The newly formed Virgin Blue Cycling team from Queensland has recently celebrated a victory in the Australian Road Team Series and they will be making their first appearance in the Goulburn to Citi along with Jayco-VIS of Victoria, Team Budget Forklifts and Plan B from Western Australia, ACT Academy of Sport and Citi-Velofix from New South Wales.
The New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) is again vying for a podium finish and they are expected to enter two teams. One of the most exciting talents in World cycling, Luke Davison, the current Triple Junior World Champion will be in the NSWIS team.
Davison who is 18 has just returned from the World Championships in where he spearheaded the Australians to the top of the table with the most successful junior team to ever represent . The Australian Coach, Gary Sutton has given the young rider a special clearance to ride the 170km Classic against the senior riders.
"It's great to see Luke use the greatest one day classic to enter the senior ranks. He has a wonderful future ahead of him in world cycling," said quadruple world and Olympic Champion, Stephen Wooldridge.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)