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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Latest Cycling News, September 5, 2008

Edited by Hedwig Kröner

Vuelta rest day wrap: Change the only stable thing

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) took over the overall lead just before the rest day
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Five leaders in six days show that the 2008 Vuelta route chosen for the first week was diverse enough to give something to everyone. The race started in the southern heat of Granada and wound its way north over interesting stages. Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake looked back at the first week and glimpsed ahead to the second week with all its mountain stages.

The race started with an unusual, yet interestingly short 7.7-kilometre team time trial to keep everybody within earshot of yellow. The course was long enough to hand out a true first golden jersey, but short enough to keep the overall situation tense. The time bonuses handed out for each stage (20, 12 and eight seconds for the first three, except for the time trial stages) also kept things dynamic in top of the leader board.

Puncheurs like Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) or Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) had chances of stage wins and/or the leader's jersey just as well as sprinters like Daniele Bennati (Liquigas). An early flat time trial finally saw the overall contenders move forward. Levi Leipheimer took the 42.5-kilometre race against the clock and put on his first ever leader's jersey in a Grand Tour. His Astana teammate Alberto Contador was close by. The mountains will show who will emerge as the leader of the team.

Leipheimer didn't get to enjoy the golden feeling for long, though, as Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) had produced an incredible time trial to be only two seconds behind Leipheimer on GC. Chavanel used his aggressiveness, his strong Cofidis team and the fact that Astana did not want to keep the jersey at all costs so early in the race to take over. There were a total of six possible spots for the bonus (two sprints giving out bonuses to the first three each) and all of those six spots were occupied by Cofidis riders.

Click here to read the full rest day wrap from the Vuelta a España.

Hamburg Cyclassics: One for the sprinters?

By Susan Westemeyer

Gerald Ciolek is looking for another great win this season
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
(Click for larger image)

The Vattenfall Cyclassics is traditionally one for the sprinters, and this year looks to be no exception. The race is being held nearly a month later than usual, due to the Olympics, but as usual, it is following directly on the heels of the Deutschland Tour. A large number of riders will transfer directly from the last stage in Bremen to Hamburg to take on the ProTour one-day race.

Because of the September date, the race overlaps with the Vuelta a España and many recent Hamburg winners are in Spain. Erik Zabel, Filippo Pozzato, Oscar Freire and Paolo Bettini will all be missing, as will last year's winner, Alessandro Ballan. However, this merely opens things up to what race organisers call a "generation change".

Team Columbia sprinter Gerald Ciolek, fresh from a strong Deutschland Tour, will look to take his first ProTour one-day win, and his team-mate Linus Gerdemann has to be considered another top favourite. Rabobank's Graeme Brown will expect to be in at a sprint finish, as will Lotto's Robbie McEwen. Caisse d'Epargne is sending a strong team, including Vladimir Karpets, José Rujano, Luis León Sánchez and Rigoberto Uran.

CSC may have the best chances to wrest the win out of German hands, sending Fabian Cancellara and Jens Voigt. It would be a mistake to count either of them out.

Cyclingnews will be covering the Hamburg Cyclassics live next Sunday. Please click here to read the full preview.

'Show me' the racing in Missouri

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Columbia's George Hincapie will defend his Missouri title
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Fifteen teams are lining up for the Tour of Missouri's sophomore year – a race that is wasting no time in growing up. Now a full week long the race will follow a similar west-to-east route between the state's two largest cities, Kansas City to St. Louis, with a stop in the capital Jefferson City along the way. Like last year the parcours will not be challenging in terms of climbing, save for the Branson time trial which seems to include every hill in the Ozarks.

Defending champion George Hincapie is back with a new team, Columbia. But Hincapie might not be the top draw from his team as British speedster Mark Cavendish is making the trip, salivating at the plethora of flat and fast finishes. With Hincapie's time trial ability, combined with Cavendish's recent three-in-a-row at the Tour of Ireland, the potential for a clean sweep is not unimaginable. The entire Columbia team is rather stacked since they are not currently racing the Vuelta a España.

However the time trial battle should be a good one and again be one of the deciding factors for the overall. Riders like Hincapie, Garmin-Chipotle's recently crowned United States of America time trial champion Dave Zabriskie and Tour de France fifth place finisher Christian Vande Velde are all top time trialers. Though Liquigas has its younger team here, a young talent Roman Kreuzinger, winner of the Tour of Switzerland, is an overall threat. Tom Zirbel (Bissell) finished just five seconds off Zabriskie in the recent US championship and will be looking for a second chance. Canada's champion Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) is no stranger to hilly time trials, winning the Tour de Beauce in that fashion.

Click here to read the full preview of the Tour of Missouri.

Kupfernagel hammers German national coach

Reigning world champion Hanka Kupfernagel finished only 11th in the Olympic time trial
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Time trial World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel had sharp words for national coach Jochen Dornbusch, saying "I am personally disappointed in Bundestrainer Dornbusch." She called their work together in the Beijing Olympics weak, and said that he was a "failure".

Kupfernagel said that in Bejing, as in the Worlds road race last year, "they expected me to do all the work in the beginning." In both races, she told German news agency dpa, younger and more inexperienced riders were given preferential treatment, "but that won't happen to me again."

Dornbusch and Kupfernagel have never had a good relationship, and it deteriorated in China. She felt insulted by public comments expressing doubts on her ability in the road race, "and then I was charged with not being a good team player. That is a bad joke."

Burckhard Bremer, sport director for the German cycling federation BDR, said, "She should look to herself first. That sounds like sour grapes after not getting the hoped-for success." He added that as defending champion, Kupfernagel was assured a start place in the Worlds in Varese, but that the road team would not be nominated until after the Rund um den Nürnberger Altstadt race September 14.

Kupfernagel is training alone in the Varese area, using the mountain bike to bring her into form. "I am used to doing a lot of things alone," she said.

The 34 year-old will also look to defend her world title in cyclo-cross. She is not ready to yet think of ending her career. "Maybe I will keep riding through 2012, but I'm certainly not going to keep on as long as French rider Jeannie Longo, who turns 50 in October."

Dornbusch, 51, is leaving the national team at the end of this year to become directeur sportif at the German women's team Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. He served as national coach for seven years, and in that time the team won three world championship titles: Judith Arndt (road, 2004), Regina Schleicher (road, 2005) and Hanka Kupfernagel (time trial, 2007).

Tour de l'Avenir starts

The 45th edition of the Tour de l'Avenir gets underway Chalette-sur-Loing, south of Paris, on Friday. Starting with a 7.5km prologue, the U23 stage race will see the riders head south over France's central mountain range and finish in the Pyrenees.

A total of 1386,5 kilometres will have to be mastered for the 19 national teams, each including 6 riders. The event will end in Mirepoix on September 15, one day after the race's queen stage passing over the difficult climbs of Port de Lers and Col d'Agnes.

The race organised by Tour de France company ASO is part of the UCI U23 Nations Cup and came back last year to a formula involving national teams, as it had been featuring from 1962-1980. The event was a testing ground for several later Tour de France winners such as Felice Gimondi, Joop Zoetemelk, Greg LeMond and Miguel Indurain. Last year, the race was won by Dutchman Bauke Mollema.

The 2008 stages are:

Prologue - September 5: Chalette-sur-Loing - Chalette-sur-Loing, 7.5km
Stage 1 - September 6: Chalette-sur-Loing - Avallon, 131km
Stage 2 - September 7: Vézelay - Commentry, 195.5km
Stage 3 - September 8: Néris-les-Bains - Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise, 207km
Stage 4 - September 9: Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise - Saint-Flour, 181.5km
Stage 5 - September 10: Saint-Flour - Carmaux, 212.5km
Stage 6 - September 11: Blaye-les-Mines - Blaye-les-Mines (ITT), 21km
Stage 7 - September 12: Saint-Juéry - Revel (Saint-Ferréol), 135.5km
Stage 8 - September 13: Revel - Guzet, 150.5km
Stage 9 - September 14: Seix - Mirepoix, 144.5km

Click here for more information and a full start list of the Tour de l'Avenir.

Univest GP attracts top young talent

By Kirsten Robbins in Souderton, Pennsylvania

Will Frischkorn won solo last year
Photo ©: Mark Zalewski
(Click for larger image)

The 11th annual Univest GP is set to kick off on Saturday September 6 in Souderton, Pennsylvania. It is one of few UCI sanctioned events held in the US, typically attracting a large contingent of international riders. Amongst the stellar field assembled this year is the defending champion Will Frischkorn, who without a doubt will want to claim a second consecutive victory.

Garmin-Chipotle presented by H3O is the only UCI professional continental team and fresh off a successful debut in Tour de France. Frischkorn's team-mates include Blake Caldwell, runner up at the USPRO Championships, Tom Danielson and Tyler Farrar. However, the long-running event also attracts 150 riders from 20 different countries.

"We've gone for few but better riders this year and I think we have a very comparable field," said John Eustice, event promoter regarding the international peloton. "We are trying to make a jewel of a race, maybe not ProTour, but something exciting and interesting to watch."

Other foreigners include Canada-based teams Race Pro, Calyon Pro Cycling and Jet Fuel Coffee, the Italy-based Amore & Vita - McDonalds, Mexico's Tecos de la Universidad, Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy from Belgium, the Germany-based Sparkasse team and CSC's feeder team from Switzerland, Cykelcity. US-based teams include Kelly Benefit-Strategies-Medifast, Team Type 1, DLP-Racing, CRCA-Empire, Jittery Joe's Cycling team and Toshiba among others.

"The top young elite and international teams are present," continued Eustice. "We are very television oriented and the idea is to create an event that makes exciting television. When we pull young and hungry riders together, they really go for it."

Aside from television, the event has also typically been important for the younger riders and amateurs looking for a professional contract. As a race of attrition, it has been used to scout out the next crop of talented racers.

Click here to read the full preview of the Univest GP.

NRC supremacy all but decided

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

With only one race remaining on the NRC calendar, the Priority Health Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, there is still one battle yet to be decided – but only on the women's side of things, and even that is a long shot. Once again the Health Net-Maxxis team has won the men's series, entering the final race with a 154 point lead over Colavita-Sutter Home, one point more than is available this weekend. As well, Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) has locked up the individual standings for the second year in a row, with a commanding lead over Bissell's Ted King.

The women's individual series is still a close battle with only 42 points separating leader Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) from Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine). But with the final race listed as a 1.5 category, Van Gilder would need to win the race and have Pic finish no better than ninth. But Van Gilder can celebrate with her Cheerwine teammates as they have an insurmountable lead in the team classification over Aaron's.

Many of the top men's NRC riders and teams will be contesting the Tour of Missouri which begins Monday in Kansas City.

'Riding for Deaf Schools' fundraiser announced

A fundraiser ride in Fremont, California to raise funds and awareness for the education for deaf children has been announced. The fundraiser for Deaf Schools is one day ride planned in Northern California on Sunday, October 19, 2008. The ride will go through Fremont, Pleasanton and Livermore.

Ride organiser Robin Horwitz stated, "Our goal is to raise $100,000 in our first year. We've set the goal high to raise awareness for the deaf education and money that goes into those type of programs. Giving those deaf children a chance at different opportunities presented to the general community is very important to this vision."

Currently deaf schools are set up with evening and weekend programs to offer activities for deaf kids who live far from the school. Transportation is being provided for those children so they can receive education. The programs have been established to promote deaf children's opportunities to learn and interact during evenings and weekends without parents.

Momentum Cycling Team, a professional cycling team based in Los Angeles, will be riding with the cyclists. The members of the Momentum Cycling Team are three 2008 Olympians, Jennie Reed, Josiah Ng and Adam Duvendeck. Travis Smith of Canada is also a member of the team.

For more information, visit

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)

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