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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, March 27, 2009

Edited by Laura Weislo

Phinney a new American force on the track

With reporting from Daniel Benson

Taylor Phinney (USA) won
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

American Taylor Phinney proved he is a new force in the USA track cycling scene by becoming the country's first man to win a gold medal at a world championships in 13 years. The 18-year-old won the men's individual pursuit over Australian Jack Bobridge at the UCI Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, on Thursday night.

The Boulder, Colorado, native clocked a winning time of 4:17.631 in the gold-medal final. Bobridge rode a 4:20.091 in the final to claim the silver medal, while Belgium's Dominique Cornu took the bronze in 4:22.347. Earlier in the day, Phinney set a new US national record with a 4:15.160 in the qualifying round to take the top seed.

"Everything went perfectly to plan," Phinney told Cyclingnews after his gold medal ride. "And being world champ, you know, it doesn't feel too bad. I knew if I had a good day it would work out and it was more just a relief when I knew I had it in the bag.

"It's the biggest win of my whole life and hopefully it's the first big step in a long career. I've got the kilo tomorrow, so no celebrations tonight. The jersey will be hanging in my room and I'm hoping to add it tomorrow."

Phinney, son of Olympic gold medallist Connie Carpenter-Phinney and Tour de France stage winner Davis Phinney, took up the event not two years ago, and in that short time has risen to the top of the world rankings. Cyclingnews reached Davis Phinney on Thursday, and he was excited about his son's performance.

"It feels pretty thrilling right now. The kid is unbelievable and he still surprises me and with what he can do. I'm awful proud of my son. This means so much to Connie and too. I was never a world champion, and she was in this event, so for different reasons this means so much to us. He really is in the big leagues now and what he's shown is that he can actually go faster. I'm pretty blown away to have a world champion for a son.

"Hats off to Bobridge too. He was so strong in the final and they really pushed each other all the way. Both these two riders have a big future."

With is win in the final, he became the first American male track rider since Marty Nothstein to take gold on the track. Nothstein won the keirin title in 1996. The last American to win a men's pursuit title was Mike McCarthy in 1992. USA Cycling said his victory "marks the continued resurgence of USA Cycling's track program".

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"Following a seven-year span in which Americans captured only two world championship medals between 1999 and 2005, U.S. athletes have since claimed a total of seven medals, including four world titles," a press release stated. Last year Jennie Reed claimed the women's keirin title, while Sarah Hammer scored consecutive wins in the women's individual pursuit in 2006 and 2007. Phinney became the fourth American to claim a rainbow jersey on the track today.

USA Cycling interim director of athletics Jim Miller said Phinney's success is evidence that the organisation's programs are paying off. "Looking at Taylor's recent accomplishments, as well as the many successes of American athletes on the track throughout the last several years, it's obvious our efforts are yielding results. For Taylor, his potential is astounding considering his age."

Cunego doubles in Coppi e Bartali

Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC) doubled up in Coppi e Bartali on Thursday with a second stage win in Serramazzoni, just 24 hours after his victory in Faenza. The Italian from Verona beat Australia's Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) to the line in a two-up sprint.

Cunego took the leader's jersey from overnight wearer Giovanni Visconti (ISD).

"The victory today was more complicated than yesterday," Cunego explained. "Thanks to the perfect performance by my teammates I had only to finalize their work with the victory. Now I aim to maintain the leadership until the end of the Coppi e Bartali.".

Continue to the full results, report and photos.

Cobo delivers Fuji-Servetto's first win

By Bjorn Haake

Juan José Cobo gave his Fuji-Servetto team its first victory of the season with a well-timed his attack up to the Laguna De Los Peces on Thursday's stage of Castilla y León. Cobo went clear with about two kilometres left to race, just when lone leader Xavier Tondo (Andalucía-Cajasur) cracked, and held off the group of favourites by eight seconds. Denis Menchov (Rabobank) led home the group of favourites.

Cobo, who last year took second in the Hautacam stage of the Tour de France before his then-Saunier Duval team was forced to leave the race after Riccardo Riccò tested positive, said the win was important to the re-formed squad, now called Fuji-Servetto. "This victory is very important to continue forward and to demonstrate that we are there," Cobo said.

"I suffered a lot to make it over the first climb in the second group. It was very hard, but at the end I had my opportunity and I took advantage of it." Cobo intended to attack with 6km to go, "but Contador was riding at a very strong pace. So I decided to attack at 2 km, when we caught Tondo."

Cobo called the win a vindication over the Tour de France organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation, who did not invite the team to this year's races. "Last year there was a problem with some riders and we have had many critiques. I have been fighting from the last Tour of France to continue and to demonstrate that during this time I have ridden legally."

There were no changes in the overall, despite David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) causing a bit of a panic to the dual heads of the Astana team, overall leader Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador. The Spaniard proved his faithfulness to his American teammate by pulling Zabriskie back and limiting the time gap to the stage winner

Continue to the full report.

More gold for Australia

The women's team sprint podium
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

Australian Anna Meares and teammate Kaarle McCulloch gave Australia its second rainbow jersey of the UCI World Track Championships on Thursday, besting the team from Great Britain in the women's team sprint by 0.231 seconds.

The more experienced Meares, who has taken Olympic gold and two world titles in the 500m time trial in the past, led off with the 21-year-old McCulloch in tow. Meares opened up a half second lead over Shanaze Reade and then pulled off to let McCulloch finish off the race.

"After we qualified fastest I knew we were up against the British pair and they have ridden a 33.1 [33.186 at 2008 World Championships -ed.] between the two of them, so I knew I had to be on my game out of that first gate and that first lap to give Kaarle the best shot for second wheel and we smashed it," said an ecstatic Meares.

McCulloch showed no fear in facing down Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion Victoria Pendleton, and while she conceded some time to her more experienced competitor, the Aussie held enough speed to help take the gold medal by 0.143 seconds.

"I tell you what, Anna's just been absolutely fantastic for me," said McCulloch. "She's kept me cool, calm and collected and I'm just absolutely amazed to win a world title with her.

"I was really calm (for the final) although when I saw that we got the fastest time in qualifying my heart was racing and I just had to tell myself 'calm down, calm down' and then on the start line I just told myself what I had to do and I did it."

The defending champions, Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade, were just shy of the fastest time set by Australia in the qualifying round, and focused on stepping up their game for the final. They succeeded in going 0.21 seconds faster in the final, but it wasn't enough.

"We knew we had to find a tenth [of a second] and we did but the Australians went faster," Pendleton, told BBC Sport.

Cavendish a marked man in Pruszkow

Milano-Sanremo winner Mark Cavendish returned to track racing on Thursday, but his first foray on the boards since the Beijing Olympic Games was not the success he may have wished for. He lined up for the 15-kilometre scratch race final at the UCI World Track Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, expecting to be a marked man, and he was.

"It's just how it is," he told PA Sport. "I knew coming in here that it was going to be hard to do anything – I was being watched and I didn't expect anything in the scratch."

A group of six riders escaped from the field, and despite a late chase from New Zealand's Hayden Godfrey, the leaders still maintained a half lap advantage coming into the finish.

Frenchman Morgan Kneisky claimed the victory over Argentina's Angel Dario Colla and Austrain Andreas Müller, with Australian Travis Meyer, Kazuhiro Mori (Japan) and Ivan Kovalev (Russia) rounding out the break.

Cavendish took the field sprint for seventh, and will return for the men's Madison this weekend where he will defend his title.

World Cup to open in rainy Italy

By Laura Weislo

Emma Pooley will be back to defend her title in Cittiglio.
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

The UCI Women's World Cup opens in Europe for the first time in its 11 year history, sadly due to the demise of the Geelong round this year, normally held in February. On the bright side, the later start will mean most of the contenders will have made themselves known during the early season races, making prognostications much easier than in previous years.

On the not-so-bright side, the weather forecast is calling for rain, which could throw a bit of a wrench into the dynamics of the race, especially with a decisive climb and descent falling within the final five kilometres of the race where slippery roads will test riders' skill and determination.

The Trofeo Alfredo Binda began in 1974, and through the years its stature has risen to the point where it gained World Cup status for the first time in 2008. The course around Cittiglio, which is north of Varese, includes two long circuits with a double-decker climb that rises two hundred meters to Brinzio, followed by a short descent and a shorter kick up to Orino before a longer descent back to Cittiglio.

The same crest at Orino is approached from a different direction on the three short circuits that make up the final 60km, and this climb proved to be the launching pad for last year's champion, Emma Pooley, to escape and build an unassailable lead with 40km to go. It was an unusual outcome for a race which has historically been decided on the final lap, and came about because the favourites underestimated the Briton's abilities and waited too long to launch the chase in earnest.

Now that Pooley has made a name for herself, it is unlikely she will be given as much leash in this year's event. However, she may not need this sort of guile, as she's demonstrated already this season that last year's victory was no fluke. At the GP Costa Etrusca Livorno, Pooley broke away and held off Marianne Vos and teammate Kristin Armstrong to claim the victory.

Read the full preview.

Britain claims first gold

Great Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Elizabeth Armitstead
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

The Great Britain track team, so dominant in last year's World Championships and at the Beijing Olympic Games, finally claimed its first gold medal after seven events at the UCI Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland, on Thursday.

The women's team pursuit squad of Wendy Houvenaghel, Lizzy Armistead and Joanna Roswell soundly defeated their opponents from New Zealand in the finals, clocking in a 3:22.72 for the three kilometre distance.

The Kiwi team, including individual pursuit gold medalist Alison Shanks, lagged by 1.27 seconds to claim that country's second medal of the championships.

Australia racked up the bronze to add to its tally. That country scored gold in the men's points race with Cameron Meyer yesterday, silver in the men's individual pursuit with Jack Bobridge and gold in the women's team sprint earlier Wednesday.

Belgian Classics get rolling with E3 Prijs

By Gregor Brown

The Belgians know their cobbled classics have truly started in full force with the E3 Prijs and Brabantse Pijl weekend. The 208-kilometre E3 Prijs will be a key indicator of the form of the favourites for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which occurs only one week later.

The 52nd GP Harelbeke (as it is sometimes called) may not stack up to the distance of De Ronde, but its climbs offer an interesting appetiser for the main event in Flanders. Three riders in recent years have gone on to win the Ronde van Vlaanderen after taking victory in the E3 Prijs: Johan Museeuw (1998), Peter Van Petegem (1999) and Tom Boonen (2005 and 2006).

Even if you don't pull off a Ronde, the E3 is a worthy win in its own right. Past winners include Rik Van Looy, Roger De Vlaeminck, Jan Raas, Phil Anderson and Mario Cipollini. Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen won the race last year to add to a palmarès that includes stages in the Giro d'Italia. He went on to win stage 11 of the 2008 Tour de France in Foix.

Continue to the full preview.

Pevenage seeks sponsor for Rock Racing, Ullrich to be advisor

Rudy Pevenage, sports director for the American Continental Rock Racing Team, seems to be moving more and more into the team's management. On Thursday he said that Jan Ullrich may be joining the team as a PR advisor, but noted that the team desperately needs a new sponsor.

Sponsor and team owner Michael Ball's clothing business Rock & Republic is being hit by the world financial crisis, and the team needs a new source of funding, Pevenage told the dpa press agency. "I assume that our team is {financially} assured for this season, but we desperately need a new sponsor. We are holding talks."

He indicated that Ullrich my join the management team in the coming season. "That could be something – maybe next year. Right now we couldn't pay him."

Pevenage and Ullrich have worked together for many years in the past, and continue their close relationship. "We telephone often. He is doing well. Jan will never come back as a rider, he has been hurt too badly for that." Ullrich will be Pevenage's guest next weekend for the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

It is "a lot of fun" to be back in cycling, the 54-year-old said. "We are a good troupe with morale. The riders don't complain, which is nice. If we would be able to at the Tour de France, we would be competitive with the best teams."

Women's Prestige Cycling Series kicks off in Redlands

The 2009 Women's Prestige Cycling Series gets underway this week with the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the traditional opener for this women-only national series. Roster changes and changes in the Series schedule will add to the drama in this Series as it enters its sixth year.

Katherine Carroll, the 2008 defending champion for the Individual and Sprint classifications, returns to the Series, but will be riding for a new team. Carroll has joined Team TIBCO, a team that has added considerable firepower for the 2009 season.

After the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the 2009 Women's Prestige Cycling Series will continue at the Joe Martin Stage Race (May 7 – 10) followed by the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 10 – 14) and then the grand finale will be held at the Cascade Cycling Classic (July 22 – 26).

Visit for more information.

Cyclingnews weekly podcast: Episode 4!

23 minutes of ... we'll let you decide

Despite a ridiculously tight self-imposed deadline, a budget of tens of pounds and a cast of thousands (well, four or five), we've managed to crank out a fourth Cyclingnews podcast.

This week, Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson and his BikeRadar counterpart Jeff Jones talk to Jens Voigt (warning, explicit language) and David Millar (warning, probably no explicit language), as well as analyse Milano-Sanremo, Mark Cavendish, Heinrich Haussler, Lance Armstrong, the track worlds and not much more.

You can subscribe to the podcasts via iTunes (or just go to iTunes and search for 'cyclingnews') or via this XML feed:

You can also download the podcasts directly by clicking on these links:

  • March 26: Jens Voigt, Milano-Sanremo, Mark Cavendish, Heinrich Haussler, David Millar, Lance Armstrong and the track worlds
  • March 19: Tour de France teams, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo preview and Heinrich Haussler
  • March 12: Paris-Nice mid-race, Tirreno-Adriatico preview and Heinrich Haussler
  • March 5: Valverde summonsed, Belgian opening weekend and Heinrich Haussler

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