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Tour of Britain Cycling News for September 6, 2005

Edited by Shane Stokes & Les Clarke

Paolini looking for worlds ride

Paolini won the final Tour of Britain stage
Photo ©: John Pierce
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Italian Luca Paolini has said that he's hoping to be selected for the Italian team for the world championships following some good performances recently. The Quick Step rider won the green points jersey in the Tour of Britain, taking two stages in the process - the final stage criterium and stage 3. In addition to his performances in the UK, he also won a stage of the Tour de la Région Wallonne and took second in the Hew - Cyclassics Cup in July.

"I hope that this will help me get picked for the Italian team for the world championships," the 28 year old said after his Tour of Britain stage win in London yesterday. "I had three months off at the start of the year with a knee problem, but I did well with two wins here. It is good for me and it's a clear sign to the coach Franco Ballerini that I am going well. I just hope that he selects me for the worlds, where I was third last year.

"If not, there are a lot of races in the season where I can do well, like Paris-Brussels, the Tour of Poland and the Zurich race."

Nuyens' late season form

Tour of Britain win for Nuyens
Photo ©: John Pierce
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Belgian rider Nick Nuyens finished third overall in the Tour of Britain last year, then went on to win Paris-Brussels. This time round, he took the outright victory in the British race as well as two stage wins. Another strong autumn seems to be in store. When asked by the media at yesterday's post-race press conference if he deliberately targets the end of season, Nuyens said that he traditionally comes good at this time of year.

"Every year is like that. I haven't done the Tour de France in the last three years and so I am starting to train again then. I always get sick in the middle of August, most of the time it is my stomach. When I am getting better I know that my legs are coming.

"But before I was a professional, I did some studies in the University. It was always June for the studies, then in July try to get into better condition. In August my condition would arrive, and it is still like that. But I don't really know why."

Paolini and Nuyens (Quick Step)
Photo ©: John Pierce
Click for larger image

Nuyens said that he is becoming increasingly confident. "It started last year, here. I think last year it was because I was in third place overall and then I started to believe that I was a really good rider. Then I started to win, taking Paris-Brussels. When I came back here this time round I knew it was a good race for me, so I wanted to win. My main goal was to take a stage win. But after the first stage I reconsidered my ambition, thinking maybe it was possible for the general classification. So now for the future, it gives me a lot of hope to win a bit more."

Another question put to Nuyens was if he and the team had been concerned about a possible security threat in London. "Before we came we talked about it, but once you are here you don't think about it anymore," he replied. "If you started to think like that, you have to stay at home. If it can happen in London, it can happen in Brussels, it can happen in Paris. You have to get on with things."

Event Director happy with Tour of Britain

Former world pursuit champion and current Tour of Britain Event Director Tony Doyle has pronounced himself happy with the 2005 edition of the contest. Huge crowds and warm sunshine in London yesterday topped off a good week of racing.

"Overall, we have been delighted about the event," Doyle told Cyclingnews. "We have had a fantastic team working on the race. The great thing is that they have a lot of passion, they are all enthusiastic and they all worked terribly hard. Organising anything is never easy, and running a Tour of Britain over six days is a lot of work and long hours for everybody. But it is the goodwill and passion that makes the difference, from people who really wanted the event to happen. It is the willingness to help and support which makes the difference, together with the belief in the event.

"That sort of energy transfers to the general public. We were very impressed by the size of the crowds that we passed in the course of the race. So that gives us a lot of heart. There has been a lot of hard work behind this but the quality of the racing and the level of interest means it has been a genuine pleasure to be involved."

The Tour of Britain is the current incarnation of the race formerly run as the PruTour. Doyle is ambitious about the plans for it. "It is only the second year that we have been working on the event, but we have been very pleased with how it has all come together. We have also been pleased to see how the media has grown since last year. We know that there's a lot more interest there; the media that has been involved have enjoyed it and we have enjoyed working with them.

"We realise that there's a lot more that we can do. We are going to extend the event to seven, or even eight days next year. That will mean we'll be able to take the race to a lot more places that we weren't able to get to. And it will help the event to grow even more.

In addition to lengthening the race, Doyle says that he is interested in exploring the possibility of becoming part of the ProTour. "Perhaps in time we would like to see what could happen with the ProTour, but it's early days yet as regards that. The good thing from our point of view is that we know that this race is by far the biggest event to happen within the UK. British cycling has worked very closely with us and we know that they believe in the event. They want the events to grow and so together, we can really make things happen.

"The great thing is there is so much happening in the world of cycling in the UK. We have had great successes at the world championships and the Olympics, and of course cycling has been very much to the fore in Great Britain's medal table. With the Olympic Games coming here in only seven years time, it is starting to become more and more front page rather than back page news."

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