World Championship Cycling News, September 24, 2008
Edited by Greg Johnson
Rogers wants Worlds podium finish
Photo ©: Team High Road
Australia's Michael Rogers is aiming for a podium finish at this week's
UCI World Championship Time Trial race, after a disappointing season.
The rider spent much of the season unable to compete due to serious illness,
and with his bout of the Epstein Barr virus now behind him the three time
World Champion has big ambitions for Friday's race.
"I feel I'm getting better and better as the year progresses and I haven't
finished out of top three much since the Olympics so I think my condition
is quite high and I hope to top it off with the last few races," said
Rogers. "I'm quite happy with the form."
"I know this course (Varese) quite well and have had the chance to train
over it since Beijing so I am really hoping to go back on the podium because
it's been a couple of years since I've been on so certainly to jump up
on the podium would be great and it's a very achievable goal," he added.
Rogers' goals come a day after compatriot Cameron Meyer claimed bronze
in the Under 23 Time Trial race. Meyer named Rogers, who lives near Varese,
as an inspiration for his career (see separate story).
Walker to replace O'Grady
Stuart O'Grady won't start the
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
William Walker will replace former Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady
in Australia's line-up for this weekend's UCI World Championship road
race. O'Grady has withdrawn from the event after feeling "a bit flat"
following the Olympic Games, according to national performance director
"Stuey headed back to Australia after the Olympic Games for a short break
and since returning to Europe has ridden a couple of races but has been
feeling a bit flat," said Bannan. "He doesn't think he's in the form he
needs to be to do the job for Australia this weekend and rather than let
down the team he's decided not to compete."
Walker, who rides for Dutch squad Rabobank, lives and trains in Varese
during the season and is very familiar with the course. He was also on
the Australian team for last year's World Championship race in Stuttgart,
"I'm very, very happy about rejoining the team because it's a special
honour to ride for Australia at the World Championships," said Walker.
"The fact that it's a few kilometres from my house makes it even better.
"I've had a really hard year what with a virus that laid me low and then
I was hit by a few cars which slowed me down a bit," he added. "I've been
riding resonably well for the past couple of months though and when you
ride for Australia you always ride above yourself and find something extra
so I'm really motivated for Sunday."
Kirchen passes on Worlds
Kim Kirchen has decided to forego the UCI World Championships road race
in Varese, Italy this Sunday. The Luxembourger was earmarked as one of
the likely challengers for the title, but feels that his form is not at
a standard to be competitive.
"My condition is not good enough at the moment to achieve a good result,"
Kirchen has enjoyed his best season to date in 2008. After winning La
Flèche Wallonne in April and a stage at the Tour de Suisse he went on
to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France for three stages and the
points jersey for six days.
He will be replaced by Claude Wolter in the Luxembourg national team.
Big gear provides big rewards for Malori
By Gregor Brown in Varese, Italy
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
Italy's Adriano Malori made an impressive push to the Under 23 UCI World
Time Trial podium's top step in Varese, Italy today. The 20 year-old's
agility has improved since finishing fifth in Stuttgart, Germany last
year. The step up in the youngster's performance enabled him to power
a 55x11 ratio and take the rainbow jersey ahead of Germany's Patrick Gretsch
and Australia's Cameron Meyer.
"The sun that came out at two o'clock was a sign that the day would go
well," said Malori. "I needed the physical and weather conditions to be
right - everything to take the medal. I don't race very well on the wet
The morning's heavy rains passed by the start of the Under 23's race
and the roads were truly dry by the start of Malori's run, at 15:34 local
time. He safely manoeuvred on the roads where silver medallist Gretsch
"It is my nature to ride with this big gearing," he said. "I saw the
course and I knew that the gearing would be right. I am sure that it was
the right choice. This gearing allowed me to take the win.
"I worked specifically for the time trial with respect to the last year,"
he added. "I did not use this gearing last year very efficiently; I was
very fatigued from the gearing. I think I have improved and the others
stayed the same."
His directeur sportif, Rosario Fina, kept him informed through the race.
Fina told him that he had the best splits coming into the finale, but
the fans confirmed the results.
"Rosario told me through the headset that I was going well," he said.
"When I arrived at the top of the climb, he said I had a good advantage.
I also thought that the gearing was good, and it all gave me a good morale.
"I am very happy with this jersey; it is incredible for my career and
special because I am in Italy," he said. "I think that a boy is not able
to understand all that is going on...all the emotion. It is something
indescribable. When I reached the finish, I knew I had won from their
Malori, who followed Lance Armstrong's career as a youngster, is not
sure how he will develop as a rider. He prefers to give himself time to
develop and for cycling to become a better work environment.
"I think that a boy of 20 years old can't answer what he expects from
the future," he said. "Right now, I can only understand the Under 23 situation.
I don't know how it is going in the professional ranks, I know it is getting
better and there will be a better future for cycling."
David Millar: David a Golliath once again?
British Time Trial Champion David
Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) posted a strong
Photo ©: AFP
He got a rainbow jersey once before, but had to hand it back. This time
round, David Millar is aiming to win it for real. Cyclingnews'
Shane Stokes spoke to a confident Millar prior to the World Championships.
With Fabian Cancellara missing from this year's UCI World Championships,
the list of possible winners is suddenly a lot more open. One of those
who should be in the running is David Millar, the Scot who beat Cancellara
to win a time trial stage of the 2006 Vuelta a España.
Millar has a mixed history at the Worlds, with silver in 2001 behind
Jan Ullrich the high point of his palmares. He actually stood on top of
the podium in 2003, but was later disqualified following a confession
of Erythropoietin (EPO) usage. Since his return to the sport in 2006 he
has finished 15th and 18th in the Worlds, not a true reflection of his
ability, but he hopes that things will be different this time round.
Millar showed good form at the Tour of Ireland, before heading to the
Tour of Britain and focusing on specific preparation for this week's event.
"Things have been hard but good since the Tour of Ireland," he said. "It's
taken a strong shared belief from myself and JV [team director Jonathan
Vaughers] to get to this point.
"After how I was feeling towards the end of the Tour and the few weeks
after, it would have been easy to think riding well in the Worlds would
be beyond me," he added. "I've just kept plugging away with this one goal
in mind, and slowly but surely I've started to come around."
He's now satisfied that he is in strong shape. His confidence is rising
and he is aiming for the top step of the podium. "In the last few days
I consider it realistic to be racing for the win," he said. "I will be
very pleased to be battling it out for that…I've not been in that position
for many years. I hold this race close to my heart and would love to win
Millar showed good form at the start of the season, riding solidly in
races such as the Tour of Qatar, and headed into the Giro d'Italia aiming
to ride strongly. He went close to a stage victory but was foiled by a
broken chain; after the end of that Grand Tour, he set about preparing
for the Tour de France, his main goal of the year. He was third and fifth
in time trials there; that said, an error in his training caused him to
become very run down, and he has only recently recovered from that.
"I was a bit of 'man-down' after the Tour de France, the last two weeks
of that race, and in the three weeks after that I was just terrible,"
he said at the end of August. "10 or 11 days ago, I could barely ride
my bike. I have come round very quickly, which is great.
To read the full interview, click
Meyer third in third time trial
By Gregor Brown in Varese, Italy
U23 Men's time trial podium
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
Australia's Cameron Meyer, in only his third official time trial, impressively
captured a bronze medal in the Under 23 UCI World Championships. The Perth
youngster finished with a time of 42:40 on the 33.55-kilometre course
around Varese, Italy.
"I was happy with the result I got," said Meyer. "It is very hard to
get a medal at the World Championships."
Meyer's first time trial was at the 2006 UCI World Championships as a
junior, with his second coming earlier this year as part of a stage race.
The rider thought the medal would slip out of his hands during yesterday's
race. He held the provisional top spot for 30 minutes and the silver medal
for another half-hour, until Italy's Adriano Malori came to the line with
the top time.
"It was nervous sitting there," he said. "It got to the final 10 riders
and I was still in first. I was hoping I would not finish in fourth. I
finished fourth in the Olympic Games points race, and I did not want that
again. I was really exited to hang on."
Meyer referred to three-time UCI World Time Trial Champion and compatriot
Michael Rogers as a beacon for his career. He hopes to be making waves
in the professional ranks over the coming years.
"Michael is a great role model," he said. "I would love to be professional
on the road and produce great results. I would like to progress like him.
It is where I would like to be in a couple of year's time."
Former Swedish pro returns as an U23
By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
It's not often a former member of a ProTour team returns racing as an
Under 23 rider, but that's exactly what Johan Lindgren did in Varese,
Italy yesterday. The rider placed 15th in the Under 23 UCI World Time
Trial Championship race.
The Swede had quit the Under 23 category for a professional contract
with Française des Jeux at the end of the 2006 season. At the end of last
season Lindgren asked team manager Marc Madiot to forget about the second
year of his contract, as he felt he wasn't the right man for the life
of a professional cyclist. Instead Lindgren chose to give priority to
his family and returned to Sweden to work with his father Anders, who
distributes Shimano in Scandinavia.
"I could have continued but I preferred to be fair with Française des
Jeux instead of doing one more year and quit, I would have taken somebody
else's spot," Lindgren said in Varese.
But Lindgren's passion for the sport continues to linger, so he now splits
his time. "I work half time and cycle half time," he said. "I've done
some races in Scandinavia and America with my local team and I'm happy
with this situation."
Considering his part time work, the Swede was happy with his time trial
effort yesterday. At the age of 22, Lindgren is just a cycling lover with
no specific hopes or ambitions for the future.
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