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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, September 6, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson

Riis respects Sastre, Sunderland decisions

Team manager Bjarne Riis
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Team CSC-Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis has spoken out following the announcement both team director Scott Sunderland and star rider Carlos Sastre would defect to the newly formed Cervelo TestTeam in 2009. Despite the double blow to his squad, Riis has remained upbeat and thanked both team members for their long association with his squad.

"Of course I would have liked to keep Carlos on the team, but I respect his decision to reach for new goals with a new team," Riis said. "His victory this year was a mile-stone for us and the greatest possible result of our work together. He's been a fantastic rider to have on the team and we wish him all the success and happiness in the world.

"And after all it's not entirely over yet - I'm hoping he'll be able to finish off this season with a great result in the Vuelta," added Riis.

Riis said he respects Sunderland's decision, and thanked the Australian for his time with the Danish squad.

"First of all, we respect Scott's decision," said Riis. "He's been a great, great team director for us. He's been a part of some of the most important successes we have had, and I think I am proud to say that we've been able to give him a lot of great experiences."

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Sunderland is currently directing the squad's Vuelta a España effort, where Carlos Sastre is aiming to add his home Grand Tour victory to the French win he claimed at July's Tour de France. Sastre announced on Thursday he would be joining the TestTeam, setup by Team CSC-Saxo Bank's current bike sponsor.

"We are happy with the time we had with Scott, and we wish him the bet of luck with his new team and the new experiences he will have with them," added Riis.

Cervélo announced on August 28 it would launch its own Professional Continental squad in 2009, and that it would cease its bike supplier deal with Team CSC-Saxo Bank. Since then Team CSC-Saxo Bank has announced Specialized Bicycles will supply its bikes for 2009, while the Cervélo TestTeam has announced Jean-Paul van Poppel will leave his Team Flexpoint women's team to take up a sports director position on the new squad.

Vroomen confirms Sastre signing

A rare shot of Cervélo's Gerard Vroomen
Photo ©: Cervélo
(Click for larger image)

Cervélo co-founded Gerard Vroomen has confirmed Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre's announcement he will join the Cervélo TestTeam in 2009. Vroomen announced on August 28 his company would form the Professional Continental team with Zipp, Speedplay, Vittoria and 3T - all formerly Team CSC-Saxo Bank suppliers like Cervélo itself.

"We are very proud and pleased to confirm that Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre has signed to ride for Cervélo TestTeam," said Vroomen. "Carlos was the first rider who signed for our new team."

"With his incredible kindness as well as his hardworking and determined character, we consider Carlos to be the ideal man to embody the attitude and spirit of our new team," he added. "We have long considered him a friend, so we are ecstatic that he is willing to support this pioneering venture."

Sastre's future had been the centre of much speculation in recent weeks. Many expected the rider had been wooed by Tinkoff Credit Systems owner Oleg Tinkov, after the Russian businessmen hinted he was chasing the Spaniard for his Katusha team, due to be launched in 2009.

"This is a new and unconventional format, but, to his credit, he instantaneously jumped on board and we are very appreciative of that," added Vroomen. "We are now in the process of building a great team around him and there will be more exciting announcements in the near future."

Tour de Georgia unlikely for 2009

By Mark Zalewski

Sealed with a kiss? Kanstantin Sivtsov could become Georgia's last winner
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

One of America's biggest stage races, the Tour de Georgia (2.HC), is unlikely to be around next season according to multiple sources involved with the race. The failure to secure consistent sponsorship combined with financial losses have made the race questionable over the past few years, and it appears these problems have finally caught up with the event.

Chris Aronhalt of Medalist Sports, the original promoters and current logistics provider for the race, said that the board would be meeting soon to discuss the future of the race. Contacted by Cyclingnews the race's executive director Elizabeth Dewberry said that there were ongoing discussions about postponing the race for 2009 in order to reorganize. However, Dewberry would not return calls for additional details.

The race began in 2003 with Medalist Sports, the promoters involved with running the Tour of California, Tour of Missouri and the last three years of the USPRO championships in Greenville, South Carolina. The Tour de Georgia laid the groundwork for the Tour of California and Tour of Missouri. However, the race has run under three different title sponsors in the past six years, including Dodge, Ford and most recently with AT&T. The Georgia Partnership Economic Development took over formal ownership of the race from Medalist in 2007 and the 2008 edition also found support in Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle as chairman of a newly formed board of directors.

The race was touted as a stepping stone to the Tour de France, a tag line helped along by the attendance of one Lance Armstrong in the final two years of his Tour de France victories. Record crowds attended in those years, but the numbers have not sustained since.

Broken Barredo leaves Vuelta

Boonen feeling fine

There were 20 in the bunch and the little one said, 'fall over
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Quick Step's Carlos Barredo will not contest today's Vuelta a España stage when the event resumes in Barbastro. The rider has taken advice from the Belgian squad's medical staff to rest after X-rays revealed a micro-fracture on his right scaphoid during yesterday's rest day.

"Together with the medical staff of the team I decided to not take the risk," said Barredo. "The next stages are very hard and I cannot ride in this condition.

With his band in plaster and doctors ordering he rest for two weeks for the injury to heal, Barredo will miss the World Championships this month in Italy.

"It's a shame," he added. "I'm in very good shape otherwise and participating in the World Championships was one of my dreams. This time It's really hard to stop, also because the mood of the team is perfect."

Barredo's team-mate Tom Boonen on the other hand has bounced back from his involvement in a massive bunch crash on Thursday's Vuelta stage. Boonen had a sesssion with Quick Step physiotherapist Joris Van Roy during the rest day and is reportedly feeling much better.

"Tonight I didn't sleep well," said Boonen. "I couldn't find the right position because of the scrapes, but it's pretty normal after a crash like that. I was afraid that my back could have serious problem but fortunately the mobility of my back is not compromised. I rode my bike this morning for two hours without any evident problems. I approach the Pyrenees with more optimism."

Bettini helps Worlds tickets boom

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) celebrates as his
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

The victory by Italy's Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) on Thursday's stage of the Vuelta a España has seen tickets sales for this month's World Championships boom, according to organizers of the event. World Championship organizers said that the morning after Bettini's Grand Tour stage win saw them sell 400 tickets alone to the finish of this month's race.

The World Championships will be held in Varese, Italy from Septmeber 23 - 28. Bettini will lineup as a part of Italy's famed squadra azzurra at the world title race, where he will attempt to secure a third consecutive UCI World Road Championship title.

Last month Bettini relinquished his position as reigning Olympic Games road champion. After winning the 2004 gold medal in Athens, Greece, he was unseated by Spain's Samuel Sánchez in Beijing, China.

Chavanel's Vuelta diary: A golden rest day

By Sylvain Chavanel

I just came back from a 60km-ride and will head off to lunch soon, but first a few words to my Cyclingnews readers. As you probably know, I took over the maillot oro yesterday. It was great to get my first Grand Tour leader's jersey - different to a stage win. Wearing the jersey is a great honour, too, as it is part of the value of a race. But I see it more as a reward for my great time trialling two days ago, which brought me into this opportune position in the first place.

I will do everything I can to defend it, but it will be hard. Tomorrow, we'll already be getting into the high mountains with a summit finish in Andorra, so I will have a tough time against the climbers. But in any case, it will be a blast to ride the stage wearing that jersey, the longest of this year's Vuelta!

I have to say that it is also a great collective feat from my entire team. Yesterday, the strategy was clear, and we were able to realise it perfectly: We did not want to let any big breakaway go, and in the end, there were three riders. We took them back ten kilometres before the first sprint at km115, so the guys had to ride early on. It was a nervous and fast stage, with a lot of crashes. We went faster than 45km/h on average, so it was stressful. Moreover, we only have seven riders left in the race, and not all of them could put on the pace as some were needed to get water bottles, etc. So it was a great team effort of which I'm really proud.

To read the full diary, click here.

Milram in a good moo-d

Don't have a cow, man: Ralf Grabsch, Markus Eichler,
Photo ©: Milram
(Click for larger image)

Team Milram raised a number of eyebrows Friday morning when it took to the start of the seventh stage of the Deutschland Tour. The riders weren't in their usual kit but were wearing jerseys with a blue and white speckled-cow pattern. Among those who were "not amused" was the race jury, as teams are required to wear their normal team kit.

There were enough questions raised that team captain Christian Knees quickly changed back into his regular jersey before the start, although he still wore the speckled shorts. The other five remaining Milram riders took to the start in their white-with-blue speckles. The kit was planned to honour the team's sponsor Nordmilch, a dairy-product company, which is based in Bremen, Germany.

"We wanted to surprise Nordmilch and thank them and the dairy farmers for their belief in cycling," said team manager Gerry van Gerwen. "On our way through Milram land, we want to show for whom we ride with pride and demonstrate our connection to the northern Germany home of Milram."

The surprise almost backfired on the team. Race jury director Martijn Swinkels told van Gerwen that "according to the rules we are out of the race" and shouldn't be allowed to start. "I didn't know that [was the rule]," van Gerwen told the dpa. "[Even though] we knew there would be a penalty."

Swinkels finally allowed Milram to ride, and the jury was to meet Friday evening to decide on a penalty. "The team will surely not be thrown out of the race," said race director Roland Hofer. "I can guarantee that."

Despite the near exclusion, Milram was left in a good "moo"d and ready to milk the situation for all it was worth.

Augé takes second Deutschland win

By Susan Westemeyer

Happy as: Stéphane Augé (Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Stephane Auge (Cofidis) won the sprint on the seventh stage of the Deutschland Tour, as another escape group was successful. The victory is Auge's second Deutschland Tour win, having won the sixth stage in 2002. Auge beat Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) and Mauro da Dalto (Liquigas) as the 11-rider group came in nearly four minutes ahead of the main field. There was no change in the overall, with Columbia's Linus Gerdemann holding on to his lead over team-mate Thomas Lövkvist.

“I am totally happy,” the 33 year-old said. “Our team has worked hard the whole week, but never got any results. Because I can sprint well, I simply had to wait until the finale. The other attacked early and I only needed to sit on their wheels.”

One of those in the escape group who attacked early in the finale was Jens Voigt (CSC-Saxo Bank), who opened the sprint but ended up sixth. “I wanted to show that I am not here to take consolotation prizes. But you can tell, I am only at 70 or 80 percent,” he said.

It took a while for a group to get away today, but by kilometre 34, a group of 11 riders finally was successful: Jens Voigt (CSC), Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Jorge Azanza Soto (Euskaltel), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), Angel Gomez Gomez (Scott - American Beef), Christian Knees (Milram), Simon Spilak (Lampre), Johannes Fröhlinger (Gerolsteiner), Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas) and Stéphane Augé (Cofidis).

To read the full report, click here.

Musiol secures Deutschland mountain title

Daniel Musiol (Team Volksbank-Corratec) has secured the King of the Mountains jersey at the Deutschland Tour. After the last category three climbs in Friday's seventh stage, the German had 18 points, ahead of Team Columbia duo Thomas Lövkvist with 14 points and Linus Gerdemann on 13 points. With no mountain points in the closing time trial, Musiol has sealed the classification win.

"That is without doubt the best moment of my pro career," the 25 year-old said. "I am not really the best climber in the peloton, but the one with the most points."

Musiol said that he is "happy that the Tour is ending", because it has been hard on him and his team-mates. "We are all at our limit," he said. "The race couldn't be one day longer."

Musiol will, however, continue on to the Vattenfall Cyclassics Sunday in Hamburg. "As the newly crowned mountain king of the Deutschland Tour," he smiled. "I am proud of that."

Teutenberg takes 20

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Team Columbia) sprints to the win
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has taken her 20th victory of 2008, after claiming the Ladies Tour of Holland's Stage 4. The Team Columbia rider has been a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, with the rider also claiming the event's opening stage.

"The weather was not pleasant - very windy and heavy rain and the whole stage was pretty stressful as a result," Teutenberg said. "But fortunately I had no problems myself, no punctures or mechanicals and the poor weather conditions made winning feel even better when it happened.

"I got on somebody's wheel with 75 metres to go, got past them quickly, then went for it," added Teutenberg. "We'd been through the finish a couple of times when we doing some laps on a finishing circuit, and I knew it wasn't too complicated. There was just one left-hand corner in the final kilometre, which was flat in any case, and then you were there."

Teutenberg's team-mate Anke Wichmann also claimed the event's second stage of the six stage event. Today's fifth stage will be a criterium around Boxtel, leaving Teutenberg with an opportunity to claim a third stage win before the race ends with a climber's stage on Sunday.

For full coverage of Stage 4, click here.

London to Liverpool, British tour ready to roll

By Gerry McManus

Romain Feiliu (Agritubel) won last year without winning a single stage
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

Great Britain is currently cycling crazy. The British Cycling Team's Olympic Games success in Beijing, China last month has already started to have an effect on the public's knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport. Seats for the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Manchester, England in October sold out in a matter of days rather than the months it usually takes.

As a result organizers of this year's Tour of Britain are expecting bigger numbers than usual out on the roads watching the race. Tour de France hero and triple Tour of Ireland stage winner Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia) will be sitting this one out, but British Olympic medallists Bradley Wiggins (Team Columbia), Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) and Chris Newton (Rapha Condor are on the provisional start sheet to give the British someone to cheer for.

The Tour looks good on paper. The inclusion of ProTour teams CSC-Saxo Bank and Columbia alongside Team Garmin-Chipotle, Agritubel and Barloworld ensures that some of the best riders in the world will be on show. Stuart O'Grady, Bradley McGee (CSC-Saxo Bank), David Millar, Magnus Backstedt (Garmin-Chipotle) and Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) are some of the standout names on the start list. Britain's Jonathan Bellis gets his chance to show what he can do as a stagiere riding for the CSC-Saxo Bank team.

Pinarello CandiTV come into the race after a successful foray in Ireland where Russell Downing won the An Post green points jersey and finished second overall in the general classification behind Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia). Rapha Condor's Chris Newton leads his team in his first stage race after winning the bronze medal on the track in Beijing.

Last year's mountains winner Ben Swift rides in the Great Britain team with national road race champion Rob Hayles and regular national team team-mates Andrew Tennant, Ian Stannard and Jonathan McEvoy. Romain Feiliu (Agritubel) returns to defend the title he won last year after he won the race on count-back to the prologue, where the judges had to look at the decimal points on time to decide the winner.

To read the full preview, click here.

Virgin Blue aiming for Citi victory

David Kemp (Virgin Blue Cycling)
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

Virgin Blue's cycling squad is hoping to claim victory at next weekend's Golburn to Citi in New South Wales, Australia after announcing a strong roster for the event. The team will field former Tour of Murray River leader David Kemp in the National Racing Series event.

"David is currently in great shape and will be an important part of Virgin Blue cycling’s attempt to win the prestigious Goulburn to Citi cycle classic," said team manager Chris White. "We are riding to win."

The Goulburn to Citi Cycle Classic is the third Cycling Australia National Teams Series race and will take place on the Saturday, September 13. The race commences at 7.40 AM and finishes in Camden at 11.30 AM, as a part of the annual Camden Festival.

Virgin Blue for Golburn-Citi: Bernie Sulzberger, David Kemp, Darren Rolfe, Greg Campbell and Will Alexander.

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