Latest Cycling News, September 30, 2008
Edited by Bjorn Haake
Wiggins looks back at Olympics
After Bradley Wiggins won three medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics, he should have been on top of the world, but instead he turned to drinking, going on what he calls a "nine-month bender." This year, after winning two gold medals in Beijing, he is reacting differently and looking back at the last four years.
In a painfully honest interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, the 28-year-old said that after his success in Athens, his family's financial problems didn't disappear. "I woke up every Monday morning and we were still overdrawn and I'd think, 'God, I don't feel like riding my bike again.' There was a bitterness that nothing had changed after all the hard work but it went deeper than that. I'm not saying I was clinically depressed but there were definite bouts of depression - and lots of drinking."
One difference this year is that he is getting recognition for his Olympic accomplishments. He is even recognised on the street. After Athens, the BBC ignored him and fellow medal winner Chris Hoy at its "Sports Personality" presentation, but this year the two will be "VIP representatives" of the sport at the gala.
Perhaps things haven't changed as much as he hoped. He finished off the Olympics with the Madison, in which he rode with Team Columbia teammate Mark Cavendish. "Cav is young and brash but he was exceptional - which just adds to the frustration we felt in Beijing."
The pair had won the event in the World Championships and were favoured to repeat their success n Beijing, but finished way back in ninth place. Wiggins gives himself the blame for the loss. "All through the race he kept saying, 'Brad, what's going on?' and I'd be telling him, 'Put me out there,' because I didn't have the legs to attack. But if he attacked I'd have the legs to keep up. I was knackered but he was a bit cocky. Who wouldn't be when you're 22, you've just won four Tour stages and you're riding with a double Olympic champion? He thought we'd piss all over it but the reality was different."
Looking back at that race, Wiggins said, "Cav is like my little brother and I love him dearly. But we left the stadium without saying a word to each other and we've yet to speak." He continued, "I came off the track and downed a couple of beers straight away. He went the other way and so I proceeded to get blind drunk with my wife and friends. It was a disappointing end to a fantastic Games and I like to think he doesn't hate me now."
Wiggins turned pro with the Linda McCartney team in 2001, and rode for Française des Jeux in 2002-2003, Crédit Agricole from 2004-2005, Cofidis from 2006-2007 and Team Columbia this season. He has signed with Team Garmin-Chipotle for next year. Riding on the track, he has a total of six Olympic medals and six world championship titles.(SW)
Will Ballan debut in the Giro?
Alessandro Ballan, who became world champion on Sunday in his native Italy, has never raced the Giro d'Italia before. But Ballan is giving it some serious thought for 2009.
The win on Sunday doesn't necessarily add to his motivation. "The idea of riding the Giro was already in my head before the World Championships," Ballan told Gazzetta dello Sport.
But the win on Sunday could add some importance to riding his country's national tour. "It would be bellissimo if the Italian tifosi could see me in the jersey of the world champion. I think in the stages of the Giro I could feel the same emotions as on Sunday in Varese." And those emotions were pretty high with Ballan. "It is the dream of every rider."
Ballan has shown that he is a versatile rider who doesn't need to shy away from bad weather or high mountains. In the Vuelta a España, he won the stage to La Rabassa in Andorra. With his solo win he took over the yellow jersey, even though it was only for one day. But the good performance in the Vuelta is another sign that Ballan may debut in the Giro, at the ripe age of 28.
Ballan won't have wait until the Giro to display his rainbow jersey, though. His friend Filippo Pozzato, who was left out of the Italian team, called Ballan to congratulate him on the win. "I'll see you on Tuesday in training and I recommend you wear the rainbow jersey!"
Monfort to Columbia
Maxime Monfort is leaving Cofidis for Team Columbia. The Belgian rider has signed a two-year contract with the American team, according to his website, maxime-monfort.be.
The 25-year-old still had time left on his contract with the French team, but he has "been freed from his obligations to Cofidis," he said,
Monfort turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2004 and changed to Cofidis in 2006. This year he finished fourth in the Critérium International, fifth in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, and ninth in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. He was also 23rd overall in the Tour de France.(SW)
One Grabsch proud of the other
"A World Champion for a brother, how many people can say that?" asked Ralf Grabsch. "That was a perfect performance by my brother at the Worlds in Varese. I am very proud of Bert."
Ralf, who rides for Milram, takes credit for his younger brother's success. "After all, I was the one when we were kids who made Bert change from soccer to cycling!"
The elder Grabsch also laughed over the German TV announcers, who kept confusing the two during the Worlds, although Ralf did not participate. "It is great that our names were always mentioned. And now everyone knows that there are two pro cyclists in our family. That makes it easier to accept the mix-up."
While Bert has now finished his season, Ralf still has two more races to go. This Friday he will ride the Münsterland Giro, followed the next day by Steffen Wesemann's farewell race.(SW)
Where will Gerdemann ride in 2009?
The tug-of-war over Linus Gerdemann continues. He still has a year on his contract with Team Columbia, but wants to ride for Team Milram next year. Negotiations are underway, with both sides claiming to have the upper hand.
"I assume that we will have everything settled before October 31," Milram manager Gerry van Gerwen told the dpa agency, while Columbia manager Bob Stapleton said, "We have a team with young, strong riders and Linus fits in well."
Gerdemann has said that he would prefer to ride for a German team. Stapleton and van Gerwen held talks during the recent World Championships, apparently over the amount which must be paid to buy off Gerdemann's contract. Van Gerwen is now said to be holding talks with the rider's management.
It would not be the first time that Gerdemann has broken a contract early to sign with another team. He turned pro with Team CSC in 2005, and in that summer agreed to sign with T-Mobile for the 2007 season. CSC released him from his contract, allowing him to join the German team for the 2006 season.(SW)
Duarte recalls race that gets him a house
The new U23 world champion Fabio Duarte of Colombia had two goals this season, to become U23 world champion and to buy a house. Now one leads to the other, as he received financial aid in Colombia, following his road race win in Italy on Friday.
At a press conference in Bogotá it was announced that Duarte will receive as a prize for his efforts the amount necessary towards buying a house. "I didn't hope for [the win] and now I am very happy. I fulfilled two dreams this year!" Duarte said, according to soitu.es.
He accomplished his first dream last Friday when he won the U23 road race with a late attack. He beat Italian favourite Simone Ponzi and German John Degenkolb with his gutsy move. "I am proud to have raced against a strong guy like Simone Ponzi. To be honest, the last few metres of the race I no longer knew what was going on, I was so focused on ... winning. Then I saw him [Ponzi] get so mad, and rightfully so – after all it was 'his' country."
Duarte remembered that the race started out very fast. Then, after everybody had a feel for the course, the attacks started. "The Italians, the French, the Swiss, everybody," Duarte said. "But the good preparation I did in Colombia with different coaches was very good."
The Colombian added that he was seeking to be in a break right from the start. "In the first break we were eight. Then the climb made the selection. Lap by lap we lost a rider. Finally, I was the only one of those who started in the break who also was there in the end [Ponzi and others had bridged up later - ed.] So I decided to attack on the climb, which was three kilometres in length."
Castaño visits Italian biomechanic prior to Vuelta a Chihuahua
Spaniard Carlos Castaño of Xacobeo-Galicia will visit a biomechanic in Italy before heading to the Vuelta a Chihuahuaviaja, Mexico. Castaño is looking to improve his positioning on the bike. The biomechanic, known as Mariano, counts a number of other racers as his clients.
Castaño got the recommendation from a fellow Spanish racer. "He was recommended to me by Joaquim Rodríguez [Caisse d'Epargne], as he had good results with improving his pedal stroke.
Castaño hopes to improve his knee problems that bothered him during the Vuelta a España. "I had mixed feelings about the race, as I felt I had great strength and good form, but when I hit the handlebar [during a crash] I developed a tendonitis. That prevented me from being at my full strength in the key moments."
The Xacobeo-Galicia rider from Ávila is hoping to recover well. "The Vuelta a Chihuahuaviaja is practically the last race of the season and I would like to do well in it to close out the year on a high note."
The team is really upbeat, following a strong race in the Vuelta. "It is incredible with the increase of fans in Galicia and all the support we received during the Vuelta."
Tour of Tasmania has kicked off
The Tour of Tasmania has kicked off with the first two stages being held on the first day. Both rides were criteriums, with the first one 33 kilometres in length and the second one 54 kilometres.
Fierce racing saw the decisions come down to the wire, with the second race a true photo finish. The general classification leader dropped back into second overall after the second stage, thanks to all the time bonuses awarded.
The race is still underway until October 5.
Go to the main site to find more detail and photos for the first two stages.
Hometown riders double their fun in Vermont
A pair of Jericho, Vermont, USA, natives struck gold in duplicate this weekend as Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale/Leer/Cyclocrossworld.com) and Amy Dombroski (Velo Bella-Kona) won the men and women's races respectively at this weekend's Green Mountain Cyclo-Cross Weekend, the first stop of the 2008 Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series.
Dombroski, now residing in Boulder, Colorado, showed why she is the current two-time under 23 national champion by walking away from a solid field of New England's best. On Saturday, the only rider to be able to hold on to her pace was fellow Jericho native and mountain bike stalwart Lea Davison (Trek/VW), but eventually Davison could not hold the pace and Dombroski dispensed her on the way to win #1.
The best of the rest was led by Rebecca Wellons (Ridley) in third. Day two saw New England's best give it their best shot, and Wellons and Maureen Bruno Roy (MM Racing) were able to draw back Dombroski at the beginning of the race after several attacks from Dombroski. But the multiple efforts took their toll and Dombroski was able to hang on for win #2 with Wellons and Bruno Roy taking 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Driscoll, fresh off a win in Pennsylvania the week before, had to contend with a small but potent field as last year's series runner up Chris Jones (Louis Garneau), Osmond Baker (Stevens Cross), Matt White (BikeReg.com/Joe's Garage), Adam Myerson (Cycle-Smart) lined-up beside him. Saturday's start was perfect for Driscoll, as he got into the first group on lap one and then powered away from everyone to win handily.
White won the best of the rest battle over Jones to take second on the day. Sunday would not come so easy, as Dan Timmerman (Team RACE Pro) would dart away from the field and gain up to a 40 second lead at one time. But Driscoll and Jones tag teamed to peck away at a tiring Timmerman's lead, only to catch on the beginning of the last lap. A duel then ensued as punch was met with counterpunch. Timmerman found his second win to catch up to a surging Driscoll and leave Jones behind, and the 2 riders led to the end, where Driscoll's home course experience told him when to deliver the knockout blow to secure the win. Jones held on for his second 3rd place finish on the weekend.
The largest and most competitive field of the weekend was the elite masters, and Jonny Bold (Corner Cycles) showed why he is one the best cross riders in the country by winning a match sprint with mid-Atlantic powerhouse Roger Aspholm (Westwood Velo) on day one. 2007 series runner-up Kevin Hines (Corner Cycles) came in third to lead the 45+ contingent. Both Bold and Aspholm were in the mix as well on day 2, but fourth time was the charm for Mark McCormack (Team FUJI) as no mechanicals were stopping him from getting the win over Aspholm and Bold.
The under 19 juniors were once again led by current national champion Luke Keough (CLNoonan/KAM/Coast-to-Coast), who torched the field by winning both days by over a minute each day. Manny Goguen (Minuteman Road Club) came in second both days, while Luke's brother and teammate Jesse took 3rd on Saturday. Ontario native Conor O'Brien (Ride with Rendall) had a super day to take the bronze on Sunday.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Susan Westemeyer.)
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2008)