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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

Latest Cycling News, September 16, 2008

Edited by Gregor Brown

Strong Breschel feels good for Worlds

By Bjorn Haake in Ponferrada

CSC-Saxo Bank's Matti Breschel looks towards Worlds
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

CSC-Saxo Bank's Matti Breschel made the successful escape of Vuelta a España's stage 15 – 202 kilometres from Cudillero to Ponferrada. The Danish rider didn't have the legs to pull off a win, but feels he is ready for the World Championships.

"It looks good for the World Championships. It was a tough and long day out there, but I am glad I made the final selection," he explained to Cyclingnews after placing seventh for the stage. "In the first time in I don't know how many years we will have six riders. We should have a really strong team."

His preparation for the Worlds in Varese, Italy, came together perfectly. "After the Vuelta I will take a couple of days off, maybe only do one hour, and just sleep. I won't be doing any specifically hard training before the Worlds. Maybe one long ride of four and a half to five hours, with some efforts, but that's it.

"I know the course of the World Championships already. It is a good course, but also a bit tricky, especially if the weather is bad."

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Good Spanish weather blessed Breschel in his Worlds preparations. "Usually, I don't suffer from the heat, just from the climbs... The last climb [stage 15's Lombillo] was a little bit too tough for me," Breschel said.

"If my legs are good I will try again. ... I can't help to be a little bit disappointed with today's result."

The Vuelta helped him reach optimum form for Varese. "I am feeling better and better. Definitely, much better than at the beginning of the race."

Greipel on winning year

By Susan Westemeyer

German André Greipel pleased with winning year
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

German André Greipel started out his season in January by dominating the Tour Down Under and, in the middle of September, he shows no signs of slowing down. Team Columbia's powerful sprinter, 26, took his 13th season win Sunday in Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt.

"The race went optimally," he said to Cyclingnews. "Of course everyone was looking to Columbia, but with five men, we were strong enough to let it come to a sprint. Then I could just go ahead and sprint.

"My form was really good and it still is," continued Greipel, who was disappointed not to be named to the German World Championship's team. "I would have had the form for Worlds, but they have named the team and I can't do anything about it. I think I would have been a good helper, and I know the course from the Giro d'Italia."

Despite his long season, he is still not finished. "I will still ride three races," he said. The first two are the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen in Koolskamp this Friday, followed by a criterium in Wangen, Germany, on Sunday. "The season ends on October 3 at the Münsterland Giro."

Kupfernagel decides not to skip Worlds

Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel will continue towards Worlds
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

World time trial champion Hanka Kupfernagel has decided to ride the race again this year, after first threatening not to appear at all after she was not named to the team for the road race.

"We have to accept the federation's unsportsmanship. Hanka is preparing herself for the time trial," her coach and partner Mike Kluge said, according to the dpa. Previously he had said, "She was very upset that she was not nominated for the World's road race on September 27. Maybe she won't ride at all in Varese – we will have to think about it."

Burckhard Bremer, Sports Director of the German Cycling Federation, said that "in light of the most recent results," German national women's coach Jochen Dornbusch "had put together a team that will have success in Varese."

Kupfernagel rode both the road race and time trial in the Beijing Olympics, and criticised national women's trainer Jochen Dornbusch later, saying she was "personally disappointed" in him. Dornbusch announced the German women's Worlds team earlier this week, with Kupfernagel nominated only to defend her time trial title. (SW)

Van Goolen out-powered on Puerto de San Isidro

By Bjorn Haake in Cudillero

CSC's Jurgen van Goolen keeps clear in stage 14 of the Vuelta a España
Photo ©: Unipublic
(Click for larger image)

Belgian Jurgen Van Goolen of Team CSC-Saxo Bank was the main protagonist in Vuelta a España's stage to Fuentes de Invierno. He was in the break of the day, then pulled away solo. However, on the final stage-ending climb of Puerto de San Isidro, his rivals caught him.

Van Goolen, 27, quickly found the culprit. "It's a pity that Caisse d'Epargne pulled so early," he said, a bit puzzled by the tactics of the Spanish team.

He was somewhat disappointed with the outcome of the stage. "They had a good rider in the break [David Arroyo]. I felt I was the strongest in the break. If they didn't do it [pull in the escape group], I might have won the stage."

Neither Van Goolen nor Caisse d'Epargne won the stage in the end, as Alejandro Valverde faced another day where the results did not materialise.

Caisse d'Epargne's work put paid to Van Goolen shortly after Puerto de San Isidro started. "The last 13 kilometres was all headwind," he said of the climb, which was relatively gradual. "It was impossible to stay on the front alone. Behind, they had a whole team pulling."

The group had Van Goolen, away since kilometre 22 and before the Santo Tirso, in its grasp. He spent 130 kilometres in the escape.

Van Goolen's country is relatively flat considering Spain's mountains. Equally strong climber and compatriot, Jurgen van den Broeck, moved to Italy for better training. Van Goolen acknowledged that his days in his home country may be numbered. "I think I am also planning to move somewhere else."

He can find training grounds in the Ardennes, but they aren't accessible year-round. "For the first part of the year it is impossible to go there." That is exactly the time of year a climber should put in vertical kilometres.

He is confident about his strengths. "I am convinced that I am climbing really well so I have to take advantage of that. I think I can still improve a bit. Sometimes I go to Benidorm in Spain." He has found some good training routes there that help him prepare for his mountain assaults.

Van Goolen's plan for the future is clear, then. "All I have to do is find a place now where I can train more and also longer climbs."

Dekker considers CSC-Saxo Bank

Thomas Dekker, 24, continues to plan his future, away from Team Rabobank. "I am training, but not five or six hours a day. That wouldn't make much sense. I am busy looking for a new team, and relaxing. I can't do any more."

That new team may be CSC-Saxo Bank. Dekker's manager Martijn Berkhout told Cyclingnews, "We are speaking with CSC and I must say it looks good."

In an interview with the Dutch magazine Sportweek Dekker said that the public image of him being difficult and arrogant is not right. "I am not really arrogant," he said. "That would mean I turn away when I see people. I don't do that. Apparently, I seem arrogant, but that is something different. People who know me know better."

Dekker is careful about how he speaks of his former Team Rabobank. "It is only with difficulty that I can explain how things happened so rapidly. Because I do not really understand it myself."

The young Dutch rider and Rabobank agreed last month to terminate his contract, citing irreconcilable differences. (SW)

ASO gives Petacchi green light to fly in Paris-Tours

Alessandro Petacchi wins the 2007 Paris-Tours
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) reversed its decision and gave Team LPR Brakes the right to race in Paris-Tours, October 12, according to Agr. The French organiser originally excluded the Italian Team of Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi.

The invite is good news for recent-recruit Petacchi, winner of last year's edition with Team Milram. He will be able to contest the sprinters' classics against the likes of Tom Boonen, Daniele Bennati and perennial favourite, Erik Zabel.

LPR Team Manager, Fabio Bordonali, welcomed ASO's decision. "This invite acknowledges our force and considers our sincerity. To participate in Paris-Tours is a dream come true, to win it would be something else," he said in a team press release.

French court gives Frigo six-month sentence

Italy's Dario Frigo, 35 Thrusday, given a six-month suspended prison sentence
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
Click for larger image

Albertville court gave former Italian cyclist Dario Frigo and his wife, Susanna, each a six-month suspended prison sentence Monday on charges related to the 2005 Tour de France anti-doping sting, according to The Associated Press. The French court also imposed a €8757 fine on the couple.

In July, the prosecutor asked for a one-year sentence.

French police found ten doses of EPO (Erythropoietin) in Susanna Frigo's car before the start of stage 11 in Courchevel. Police arrested the couple for carrying prohibited substances.

Dario Frigo, 35 years old Thursday, confronted similar problems in 2001. The Giro d'Italia ejected him that year following a surprise police raid that uncovered doping substances. It brought about a six-month ban for Frigo.

Eichler extends with Milram

Team Milram extended its contract with Classics specialist Markus Eichler for two years, it announced today. It was the fourth contract extension on the team, to go along with eight new riders, as the team continues to take shape for the coming season.

Eichler, 26, rode for the Professional Continental Team Comnet-Senges/Regiostrom-Senges for four years before joining Unibet.com in 2007 and Milram in 2008. This year he rode not only the Spring Classics but also the Giro d'Italia and the Deutschland Tour.

"We are happy that in Markus and that we can keep someone on the team who fits with us not only athletically, but personally," said Gerry van Gerwen, Milram's General Manager. "He is a good rider, who has proven himself in our team to be a good team player and helper." (SW)

(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer)

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