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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, September 17, 2008

Edited by Paul Verkuylen & Les Clarke

Boonen's worldly statement

By Bjorn Haake in Zamora

Boonen wins again
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

With the world championships just around the corner, Tom Boonen's second Vuelta stage win came as a timely reminder that the Belgian is one of the favourites to become the king of the road again.

With his second stage win in the Vuelta a España, Belgian Tom Boonen showed he is ready to fight for the rainbow jersey in Varese, Italy. Boonen ended a hot day in Zamora ahead of Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) and Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) to prove he's in good shape ahead of the world championships in less than two weeks' time.

The 2005 world champion felt very comfortable with his form, having started the race with an early sprint win. Towards the end of a hard Vuelta, he is gaining more confidence ahead of the world championships. "To start with victory on the third day and then one day before I go home shows that my condition has not decreased, but increased."

Boonen emphasised his good condition by saying he was very strong, even in the mountains. Of course, he knew how to evaluate that. "If you are feeling strong in the mountains, you still have to see how it goes in the sprint."

Obviously, the signs are good for Boonen. He could especially feel his zing in the last two kilometres, when it really counts. "You know it's the third week. This is when everybody is tired." Boonen knows that positioning is everything and his Quick Step team, including the impressive Paolo Bettini, led Boonen out perfectly.

The Belgian believes the sprints in the third week play out differently than those in the first week. "The muscles are tired and everybody is waiting for Madrid. If you can still win then it shows you have a clear head and strong legs." Boonen explained that his injuries weren't bothering him anymore, although his Vuelta had been far from ideal. His knee was still bothering him a bit as he headed through mountains during the second week. "It was not really the best way to recover. I crashed one day before the first rest day, then we had the three mountain stages; the one in Andorra in really bad weather," he said.

Continue to the full feature here.

ARD not looking forward to Armstrong return

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German television network ARD has reacted cooly to the news of Lance Armstrong's comeback. After Armstrong announced his intention to try for an eighth Tour de France win, spokesman for ARD's Tour team, Rolf-Dieter Ganz said, "For us Armstrong is part of history; we don't want to see that [era] again."

"The future belongs to the young riders," Ganz said. "It certainly doesn't lie in the return of the Armstrong generation, which we hoped to move on from."

ARD has just postponed negotiations with Tour organiser ASO over its future coverage of the Tour de France. The details of any deal will be more affected by the value ARD sees in the rights for an event that has dropped in value after the scandals of 2006 and 2007 than by Armstrong's return.

But Ganz said, "If we agree to the contract we will sit at the table with Tour director Christian Prudhomme and make it clear: We are not amused with Armstrong's plans."

Allegations published in French newspaper L'Equipe that Armstrong used EPO in the 1999 Tour de France have sullied Armstrong's image in the eyes of the German broadcaster.

"The return of Armstrong is obviously not a credible action in the struggle for a future without doping," said Ganz. He explained that ASO is keen to have the commitment of German television due to the historically strong support of German riders at the Tour by the public back home. "Our word has weight. For the French, the German market is more important than many others," he added.

Vande Velde best in the US in '08

Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
(Click for larger image)

Christian Vande Velde has added another feather to his cap during an excellent season by topping the USA Cycling Professional Tour standings. After winning the Tour of Missouri overall title last weekend, the Garmin-Chipotle rider finished the 14-event series with 272 points. It was enough to better defending champion Levi Leipheimer, who amassed 244 points.

And in a result that reflected Vande Velde's breakthrough year as a leading rider, Garmin-Chipotle won the season-long competition in the teams category, with a total of 711 points. Jonathan Vaughters' outfit beat the force of Team Columbia by 198 points.

The USA Cycling Professional Tour consists of 14 events – UCI-sanctioned events in the US and USA Cycling's three professional road championships. After finishing third overall at the Tour of California, the 32-year-old Illinois native shot to prominence with a fifth place overall at the Tour de France, a top-20 in the Olympic road race and third at the USA Cycling National TT Championships. His Missouri title was enough to take the crown ahead of Leipheimer to be arguably his country's best rider in 2008.

Canadian Dominique Rollin finished an excellent season with third in the standings while Germany's Eric Baumann and Team Columbia's young Belarusian Kanstantin Sivtsov rounded out the top five.


1 Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Chipotle)            272 
2 Levi Leipheimer (Astana)                          244 
3 Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United Pro)              144 
4 Eric Baumann (Sparkasse)                          141 
5 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Columbia)                     140 
6 Tyler Farrar (Garmin Clipotle)                    126 
7 Mark Cavendish (Columbia)                         121 
8 Dave Zabriskie (Garmin Clipotle)                  115 
9 Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing)                       112 
10 Matti Breschel (CSC - Saxo Bank)                 100


1 Garmin Chipotle                                   711 
2 Columbia                                          513 
3 Astana                                            358 
4 CSC - Saxo Bank                                   342 
5 Rock Racing                                       303 
6 Toyota-United Pro                                 267 
7 Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast                 231 
8 Health Net                                        207 
9 BMC                                               169 
10 Bissell                                          146

For complete final standings visit USA Cycling's website (

Cervélo TestTeam denies rumours

Sánchez can't believe he just won
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

Ever since the Cervélo TestTeam was announced last month the rumour mill has been grinding almost constantly with several names being speculatively linked in the media as possible signings for next year. As a reaction to this Peter Donato, the team's Director of Public Relations has taken the unusual action of releasing an official statement to officially put the rumours to rest.

"It is not our habit to react to rumours," the statement reads, "but it seems some media have gone overboard perpetuating stories that have absolutely no basis in reality. We are noticing that most riders we are contacting are very professional about it and do not speak to the media about any impending contracts, while riders we have never spoken to are apparently close to signing with us."

Specifically, the team's press release denies that the team is trying to buy the Olympic champion out of his contract with Euskatel-Euskadi. "The team has have never spoken to Mr. Samuel Sánchez," it continued. "We have no plans to hire him or to buy him out of any existing contract. Not to mention that we would not have the budget to do so anyway, we are a modest team able to attract great riders because they believe in our concept, not because we buy them out of existing contracts."

Sánchez, currently racing in Poland, also denied the rumours. "No, I have a contract until 2010 and I am not thinking about anything else."

Euskatel-Euskadi's press manager, Jesus Maria Aizkorbe Romeo, confirmed today that there are no intentions of Sánchez to leave the team. "What is in the press is lie. For now, he is under contract with us until 2010," he said.

President Miguel Madariaga Barinaga admitted that Euskaltel is a smaller team and sometimes things evolve around money. But the team stays calm. "We are tranquilo, the riders are tranquilo. We think we have done everything right. Of course, I know that riders are a little bit egoistic sometimes. Life is short."

Donato also denies, contrary to recent speculation that the team has ever spoken to Bjorn Leukemans or Thomas Dekker, neither of whom currently has a contract with any team.

More signings are expected to be announced soon, but it seems that these three specifically named riders will not be among them.

Dueñas positive confirmed

Proving that tests conducted by the French National Anti-Doping Authority (AFLD) during this year's Tour were effective, it's been confirmed that Moises Dueñas' result was indeed positive for EPO.

After counter analysis of the Spaniard's B-sample by the AFLD, its President, Pierre Bordry, announced Tuesday that the former Barloworld rider had consumed EPO prior to the stage four time trial in Cholet. Dueñas' offence saw him expelled from the race and his team questioned by police.

Cervélo-Lifeforce goes double-Dutch

Kirsten Wild (AA-Drink Cycling Team) claims victory in Het Volk
Photo ©: Marc Van Hecke
(Click for larger image)

While the men's Cervélo TestTeam is busy denying rumours of contract negotiations, the women's Cervélo-Lifeforce team has announced the signing of two new riders. Dutch riders Kirsten Wild and Regina Bruins will join the team from 2009.

25-year-old Wild has been riding with the AA-Drink team – which will cease as a top level women's team at the end of this year – since 2006 and is one of the fastest sprinters in the women's peloton. Her biggest win so far this year has been the women's Omloop Het Volk in March, but has had several podium places including third in the Ronde van Vlaanderen and three second places in the Giro d'Italia.

"It is an honour for me to join the Cervélo-Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team," Wild said. "[It] is one of the leading women teams of the last years. I like their dominant and attacking way of racing. All riders of the team are fantastic and professional persons and built a real team."

21-year-old Bruins is currently a member of the Ton van Bemmelen – Odysis team, she has achieved a number of good results this year including second place in the Novilon Eurocup Ronde Van Drenthe, second in the GP Costa Etrusca: Giro Comuni Castellina Marittima – Santa Luce and a victory in the team time trial stage of the Tour de l'Aude; the last two of those as a member of the Dutch national team.

"After four tremendous years we are slowly starting to change the generation of the team," said team manager Thomas Campana. "It is now time to plan long-term. Therefore we are very pleased to welcome both outstanding athletes from the Netherlands' and look forward to a long-term collaboration!"

Haussler stills sees a chance

By Bjorn Haake in Ponferrada

Heinrich Haussler is edging closer and closer to taking his second stage win in the Vuelta a España to go with his win in 2005. He finished third in stage 16 behind Tom Boonen; and was in the stage winning break during stage 15.

Unfortunately Haussler was unable to match the climbing ability of his fellow break-away companions in stage 15, eventually finishing seven minutes down on the winner. But with two strong performances in two days, the writing looks to be on the wall for a win.

"I really didn't mean to go into the break yesterday, as I am not a climber," he said. "The last climb was really hard, so I tried to get away before that. I attacked four or five times." Haussler was hoping that the move would stick while the others played a tactical game. "Sometimes the others look at each other and nobody wants to pull."

Like Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), Haussler noticed the Spaniards working well together, making it harder for the foreigners to win. "If the race was in Germany, the German riders would do it equally. That's bike racing."

Haussler is not giving up however; there are still a few stages which he believes suit him. "There are still two or three stages where I think a group can arrive. The next few days won't be as hard from the profile, so if I am in a group then I think my chances are better."

Chavanel heads strong French team for worlds

Sylvain Chavanel at the Vuelta a España
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Hoping to improve on what has already been his most successful season to date, Sylvain Chavanel will head to the world championships in Varese, Italy as the captain of a strong French team. He will also ride the time trial according to Belgian news site sporza.

Chavanel broke through as a strong classics contender this year after long being touted as the next French winner of the Tour de France. He took wins at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl – his first attempt at both races – before capping off his spring campaign with a stage win at the Tour de France.

Chavanel's Cofidis team-mates Stéphane Augé and Amaël Moinard will join him at the worlds as faithful lieutenants.

Top French cyclo-cross rider John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) – who is currently riding the Vuelta a España – will make his road world's debut for France, while Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) may well play a wild card role. Lequatre was recently crowned the winner of the Tour of Britain, taking the race after a stage long break away.

Current French road race champion Nicolas Vogondy, was also named for the team, and will no doubt prove to be a valuable resource for Chavanel, one capable of being a strong contender in his own right.

French team for the World Championships: Stéphane Augé, Sandy Casar, Sylvain Chavanel, John Gadret, Christophe Le Mevel, Geoffroy Lequatre, Amaël Moinard, Jérôme Pineau, Nicolas Vogondy.

Denmark and Norway announce Worlds teams

Danish national coach, Lars Bonde has named both the women's and U23 men's teams for the up coming World Championships in Varese.

Linda Villumsen (Team Colombia) and Maja Adamsen (Team Pro Feminin les Carroz) will ride the women's road race. Villumsen will also double up to ride the time trial. Trine Schimdt (Team Flexpoint) took the last remaining place on the women's team and will ride the time trial.

The under 23 men's road team consists of Jonas Aaen Jørgensen, Niki Østergaard (both Team GLS Pakke Shop), Andreas Frisch, Rasmus Guldhammer (both Team Designa Køkken), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Glud & Marstrand Horsens) and Troels Vinther (Cycle Collstrop).

Michael Færk Christensen (Glud & Marstrand Horsens) and Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Team EnergiFyn) will both ride the time trial only.

The squad for the professional men's road race and time trial will be revealed Friday.

Meanwhile, across the border, the Norwegian federation has revealed the names of the three riders they have selected for the men's road race. Kurt Asle Arvesen (CSC-Saxo Bank) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) will be joined by Lars Petter Nordhaug who rides for the Continental Team Joker Bianchi. Arvesen was in doubt about his participation, but decided this week that he would race.

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