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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

First Edition Cycling News, September 23, 2008

Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen

Valverde wants Worlds win

One for the road? Alejandro Valverde wants one last victory for 2008 - the World Championship
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Spain's Alejandro Valverde is looking forward to this Sunday's UCI World Road Championship race in Varese, Italy. As co-captain of the Spanish National Team, Valverde is setting his sights high for the event.

"I have just one goal for these championships," he said, according to Sporza.

Valverde has enjoyed his best season to date this year. He won Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Dauphiné Libéré, and the Clásica San Sebastián before finishing fifth in the Vuelta a España on Sunday. In between he was also crowned the champion of Spain.

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The rider has been just one of Spain's shining stars in 2008. The nation has produced the winners are all three Grand Tours, with Alberto Contador winning the Giro d'Italia in May and this month's Vuelta a España, while Carlos Sastre claimed the Tour de France win. Topping off the stellar run for Spanish cycling is Samuel Sanchez's Olympic Games gold medal in the Beijing road race last month in China.

"This is the best season of my career," said Valverde. "Now I would love to become the World Champion, but if that doesn't happen, I won't be disappointed.

"If I have good legs, I will try to get into the right break," he said. "If I do then I will try something myself in the finale. If that doesn't work out, then I will ride for Oscar Freire."

The Spanish team will also feature Contador and Sanchez.

Greipel replaces Gerdemann

André Greipel (Team High Road)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

André Greipel is set to replace Linus Gerdemann in the German squad for the UCI World Road Championship race this Sunday, according to Sporza. Andreas Klöden had already declined to race in Varese, and will end his season on October 3 at Steffen Wesemann's farewell in Hamburg.

Gerdemann pulled out of the squad on Sunday. The German, who won the Tour of Germany this year, cited fatigue from the long season for his absence. Team Columbia team-mate Greipel, who won the ProTour opening Tour Down Under in January, will fill the vacancy.

Greipel has had a fantastic season this year, having won 14 races.

Klöden decided against riding in Varese also citing fatigue as the reason. The 33-year-old Astana rider has said that he cannot find the strength to be active in the last few races of the season.

Klöden won the Tour of Romandië and was third in the Tour de Suisse this year. He said earlier in the year he would not ride the Worlds as he no longer wanted to represent Germany.

Albert out for two weeks

Niels Albert has been forced to rest for a few days after his fall at the opening cyclo-cross of the season in Neerpelt over the weekend. The rider fell shortly after the start but was able to finish the race.

"The X-ray shows that my sternum and ribs are bruised," the 22-year-old Palmans rider told Belgian news website Sporza. "Also my knee is twisted."

Albert attempted to return to riding after checkups on Monday, however the rider had limited success. "I am in a lot of pain at the moment," the Under 23 World Champion explained. "I tried to ride today but that wasn't a success."

The rider expects to be out for two weeks in time for the Zonhoven event. "I have to rest for three or four days," he said. "But in two weeks I hope to return to the top in Zonhoven. My condition is good, so that won't be a problem.

"I don't regret that," she added. "Thanks to the adrenaline I didn't feel much. Only towards the end did I start to feel the pain."

Sven Nys won the race in Neerpelt from long time rival, Bart Wellens.

Guimard aims for French presidency

By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy

One of cycling's most famous directeur sportifs, Cyrille Guimard, will make a bid for becoming the next French Cycling Federation (FFC) president. The election is due to take place next March in Paris, France.

Guimard is currently Continental team Roubaix-Lille-Métropole's team manager, a position he took after returning to amateur cycling in 2003. The Frenchman's fame came from his time as a directeur sportif for Renault-Gitane (1976 to 1985), Système U (1986 to 1989), Castorama (1990 to 1995) and Cofidis (1997).

Throughout his time at the top of world cycling Guimard directed the careers of Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Greg LeMond, Charly Mottet and Marc Madiot. During his career Guimard has led riders to seven Tour de France wins, including Lucien van Impe (1976), Hinault (1978, 79, 81, 82) and Fignon (1983, 84).

Close to the grass roots of cycling, Guimard presents himself as an alternative to the two major troubles faced by the FFC: an important debt following the money paid due to a lack of information about insurance to former track cyclist Patrice Sulpice who was paralysed at the World Championships in Columbia in 1995, and the relationships with the International Cycling Union (UCI).

Current president Jean Pitallier faces a disciplinary commission during this week's meetings in Varese, Italy. The action has come after Pitallier positioned the FFC on the side of Tour de France organiser Amaury Sports Organisation against the will of the UCI.

Guimard, 61, is expected in Varese for meetings with members of the board of the UCI. He also has connections with the French government for settling the debts, but the race for presidency could be a difficult one. He'll have to be elected by the regions whose delegates are used to work with the same people and could be cautious of Guimard's strong personality and ability to point out the flows of the current governing body of French cycling.

Vice-president David Lappartient was scheduled to succeed Pitallier, who is believed to be considering a third term at 72 years of age, but hasn't made it public yet. Rhônes-Alpes region president Marc Callot, a professor of economics, is also rumoured to be in contention, but he was not elected on Pitallier's board at the FFC four years ago and it remains a difficult task for new faces to enter the fray.

Emma Johansson: Blonde ambition

Swedish silver Olympic Games medallist Emma Johansson
Photo ©: Bert Geerts
(Click for larger image)

Olympic Games silver medallist Emma Johansson goes into Saturday's World championships as one of the riders to beat. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins caught up with the young Swede - who turns 25 today - to discuss her meteoric rise and prospects for the upcoming race.

In only her third full year as a professional cyclist Emma Johansson is emerging as one of the riders to beat. Her first two years with Bizkaia-Panda Software-Durango, where she rode as a stagiare the year before, and Vlaanderen-Capri Sonne-T-Interim were followed by a move to the Dutch AA-Drink team for 2008. This move to a much bigger team has seen her results improve considerably, culminating most notably in an Olympic Games silver medal from Beijing, China in August.

"No, it's not bad at all," laughed Johansson on the subject of her Olympic silver medal. Since the Olympic glory Johansson has had no time to rest on her laurels. A 10th place in the Grand Prix Plouay was followed immediately by overall victory in the Trophée d'Or Féminin, including a stage win on the penultimate day. This victory was a first in her career, but also marked her as a rider for the others to watch.

"It was [my first stage race victory]," she said. "So it was really nice to be able to do that after the Olympics and people are really looking to me now. Before, I wasn't totally unknown, but they didn't really expect me to do anything, and then I could always surprise them, but I can't do that any more.

"It feels a little bit like [I'm a marked rider] at least like now I'm still really good and I'm in really good shape, and they know that I'm good and it's possible for me to ride away on the front," she added. "I think everyone has this, not just for me but for other good riders as well. You always know what other riders are good and what riders can ride offensive."

A brief week at her home in Belgium afterwards was followed by the Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche, where she was on the podium on all but the time trial stage and finished fourth overall. "I didn't get a stage win that I was hoping for," she said. "Overall I just felt really good and that's the most important now, that I have a good feeling about being on the bike and that racing's going well and I can just keep on doing what I'm doing and be relaxed for the Worlds and just that I know my shape is good and I can't really do anything more about that. It's nice to be able to do some good results and feel that you're feeling strong."

As Swedish champion against the clock, Johansson will once again be taking the start in the time trial on Wednesday. She doesn't expect however to be competitive, but the extra kilometres should serve as a warm up for the weekend's main event. "I'm doing the time trial so that's..." she hesitated, "I did it last year and the year before. It should be good to get another race, it's not like that important for me but - it's more for the road - but it's good to get one more race.

"I haven't seen [the course], but I heard about it," she added. "They say that it's hard, but it's not as hard as last year so I don't really know what to expect. For me the harder the better, but…"

To read the full feature, click here.

Cooke chasing French stage wins

Team Barloworld will contest the Tour International du Poitou Charentes from tomorrow, where Baden Cooke is hoping to claim stage victories for the squad. The short stage race between September 24-27 consists of four consecutive days of racing for a total of 649.3 kilometres divided into five stages.

The last one is divided into two semi-stages: a 23km time trial in the morning from Saint Germani to Saint Savin and a 108.2km road stage in the afternoon starting in Lussac les Chateaux and finishing in Poitiers.

Cooke will be supported by Francesco Bellotti, Hugo Sabido, Gianpaolo Cheula, Enrico Gasparotto, Patrick Calcagni, Marco Corti and Diego Caccia.

Valerio Tebaldi will be directeur sportif for the French race.

Cyclingnews online production editor required - Australia

Work on the world's leading cycling web site

Cyclingnews, the world's leading cycling web site, is expanding and is looking for a full time online production editor based in Sydney, Australia.

The position requires applicants to have a keen interest and thorough knowledge of competitive cycling, as well as editorial or writing experience with excellent English skills. The position will involve producing reports, results, photos and features from the world of cycling, so fluency in a second language is also an advantage, as is a familiarity with online production techniques, experience in journalism and attention to detail.

The applicants will need to be self-starters as the position involves regular liaison with production editors in all Cyclingnews offices. As Cyclingnews is a 24/7 daily news operation, the position will require regular weekend work. The weekend duties are handled on a rotating shift basis with other production editors, so the applicant must be flexible in their work schedule. However, the majority of work will be done during normal business hours on week-days.

The online editors will be required to have familiarity with online production applications (a good working knowledge of HTML and Photoshop are important skills) and could also be required to attend major cycling events in each region. However, the primary responsibility is the production of content for publication on the web site. Training in online production techniques can be provided to the right applicant, ability to handle the technical processes involved and an ability to communicate are required.

Please send your CV with a covering letter via e-mail to with "Cyclingnews online editing position - " in the subject line. Deadline for applications is October 2, 2008.

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