World Championship Cycling News, September 28, 2008
Edited by Sue George
Olympic champion conquers the Worlds
By Ben Atkins in Varese, Italy
Nicole Cooke is now Olympic and
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Nicole Cooke of Great Britain won the women's
road race at the UCI World Road Championship in Varese, Italy, on
Saturday. She took victory in a three-up sprint with 2006 champion Marianne
Vos of the Netherlands and 2004 champion Judith Arndt of Germany.
Cooke added the rainbow jersey to the Olympic gold medal she won in Beijing
last month, and became the first Briton to win a senior road rainbow jersey
since Mandy Jones took the 1982 title in Goodwood, England. Cooke, Vos and Arndt were part of a break royale that formed on the final of eight laps that
also included Emma Johansson of Swede and Trixi Worrack of Germany.
The five riders escaped under the impetus of an attack from Vos on the
steep climb of via Montello with just over 15km to the finish, and were
originally six until a puncture for Susanne Ljungskog ended her chances.
There were several attacks in the closing stages particularly from Vos
when she looked to have made a race-winning move on the final Ronchi
climb and Johansson when a late attack looked to have taken
the others unawares, but in the end it came down to a sprint and the Welshwoman
proved to be the fastest.
am very, very happy," said Cooke after the race. "I am very
happy following Beijing. When we started I was relaxed because I had met
my objective with the Olympics. We had a nice team plan, it was not complicated,
it was simple just to try to do our best. I saved all I had for
the finish line and it worked.
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"It is great to win and share the podium with great competitors,"
she added, paying tribute to Arndt and Vos.
"I have a lot of respect for all the riders here," said Cooke
in response to a question about Vos in particular. "They are both
[Arndt and Vos] former world champions."
Twice in the final lap Vos attacked, possibly casting herein the final
sprint. Cooke seemed to deny that this was a mistake by the Dutchwoman
though. "I think that she had shown she can win in climbs or win
races in sprints," she said. "I was not surprised because the
hills are a good place to attack. You can't take anything for granted...
. I had to ride my own race. I had to react to her attacks the best I
"In the sprint Marianne started it I saw the orange
jersey come back and just knew all I could do was get into the slipstream
and keep going all the way to the line. I did not know what would happen
but I just tried my best in the sprint."
In the past six weeks, Cooke has taken Olympic gold and now the rainbow
jersey of World champion, something that even she is having trouble coming
to terms with. "It was a dream come true in Beijing," she said,
"and today as well. I don't think I've realised it yet, after the
race it was very busy and there was a lot going on. I think I need some
time to let it sink in."
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite
women's World Championship road race.
Aggressive Armstrong shapes Worlds
By Gregor Brown in Varese
Kristin Armstrong (USA) in the
time trial earlier this week
Photo ©: CJ Farquharson
An aggressive Kirsten Armstrong (United States) hit out early and shaped
the outcome of Saturday's World
Championship road race in Varese, Italy. The 35 year-old fought back
after Wednesday's disappointment in the time trial.
"I was upset on Wednesday but within 24 hours I was better. I am
a competitor and so I am not going to be smiling at the finish line, but
I realised the next morning that I can't be on form every day," Armstrong
explained to Cyclingnews. She finished 39th in the race won by
Britain's Nicole Cooke.
Armstrong went out on the attack early on into the 138.8km race in Northern
Italy. Her presence in the group of 12 was a surprise given her
status as a favourite to win the race.
"We knew that of the team, Amber [Neben] and I were the strongest
with this sort of course. For many years, it seems the US team would follow
different teams' tactics, and today we wanted to go out and race our bikes.
I wanted to catch the teams off guard. I knew the leaders would be sitting
back and I am a leader so I wanted to give it a go. We created a break,
but in road racing, you have to have a little bit of luck on our side.
"We created a gap and Amber obviously was our best climber today.
It came down to a bigger bunch than we wanted, but I was able to let her
relax in the bunch with Judith Arndt, Marianne Vos and Cooke."
The chasing peloton pulled back the move by the penultimate circuit.
Team USA missed the final move including five that formed when Vos attacked
on the Montello. Armstrong remains happy with the race, a sanctification
made sweeter by the gold that she won at the Olympic Games in August.
"The gold medal is the pinnacle of sport it is mine
and I will always be a good medal winner. I am happy to be an Olympic
Arndt captures second bronze in aggressive day of racing
Judith Arndt (Germany)
Photo ©: AFP
Germany's Judith Arndt has followed up her bronze medal in the World
Championships time trial with another in the road
race on Saturday. Arndt was part of a five-rider break that went clear
in the final lap of the technically challenging 138.8 kilometre road race
in Varese, Italy.
A hard-fought last few kilometres saw one attack go after another, but
none of them worked out. Then in the final sprint for the line, Arndt
finished third behind Nicole Cooke of Great Britain and Marianne Vos of
"It was a great race. The German team was always on top of things
throughout the course," Arndt said afterwards.
"We had three of our riders in an early breakaway, then two riders
[Arndt and Trixi Worrack] went again in the final move, so maybe that
doesn't look so good. But we tried everything, and attacked again and
again because we knew that our rivals could sprint better than either
"That didnt work out. However, I think we can be proud, the
racing was positive, aggressive and fun."
Arndt said Vos' two attacks on the final lap, given the Dutchwoman's
strong final sprint, had caught her by surprise. "It was unexpected
because I know she's so fast at the finish. But at the same time, it's
great to see such an aggressive style of racing, with people attacking
all the time!"
Arndt, who was World Champion in 2004, admitted that it had been disappointing
to come so close to taking gold for a second time in her career, "but
that the others were simply better."
"I know it's the usual thing to say when you get beaten but it
does happen to be true. It was really like that. As a team we got in the
breaks and did our best. That's what matters."
Last race for Wood
By Hedwig Kröner in Varese
Australia's Oenone Wood finished her last race as a professional rider
on Saturday at the
World Championships road race. Coming in 63rd on the Varese horse
track, the two-time World Cup winner was happy to hang
up the bike after this season. Moving back home to Australia to be
with her family, she said, was her main priority now.
Asked how it felt to finish one's last race, she responded, "Pretty
good actually. I was looking forward to having a good end to my career
and going home and moving on to new things."
Looking around at the race finish scenery, which she might not be seeing
anymore for awhile, the 2005 World bronze medallist had a hard time realizing
that pro racing was now a thing of the past. Did it feel strange? "Well,
not yet," she said, taking off her glasses and helmet. "I haven't
had the time to think about it perhaps. When I go home and won't have
to go training every day - that'll probably feel a bit strange after eight
years of riding. But I've been away from my family for a long time, so
it'll be nice to be back together with them."
Saturday was also the final race for Wood's Australian teammate Natalie
Bates, the 2001 and 2002 Australian time trial champion. Bates claimed
gold in the Commonwealth Games road race in Melbourne after breaking away
from the field for a solo win in front of a home crowd and helped Wood
win bronze at the 2005 UCI Road World Championships.
Duarte's positive doping case to be re-opened
By Jean-François Quénet in Varese, Italy
U23 World Champion Fabio Duarte
Photo ©: Sirotti
The new Under 23 road world champion, Fabio Duarte, may not be able to
celebrate as much as he'd like after his win Friday in Varese, Italy.
Like fellow Colombian Santiago Botero, Duarte tested positive for testosterone.
The result came during the Clasica de Girardot prior to the Tour of Colombia
in July of 2007. Duarte has been adamant that his values were naturally
at that level, and the Colombian federation said it would prove so before
July of 2008. However, nothing appears to have been done. Furthermore,
the UCI said it knew nothing of Duarte's case until Friday.
Duarte was selected by the UCI to ride for its mixed team in the Tour
d l'Avenir earlier this year. He returned to Europe in the colors of the
French Club VC La Pomme-Marseille, but he wasn't permitted to race as
an amateur in France since he was also registered as a member of the Continental
team Colombia ès Passion. Prior to the Tour de l'Avenir, he took
part with La Pomme in some one-day races in Italy and the Tour of the
Valle d'Aosta where he was forced to pull out due to an insect bite.
"We need to check," said UCI anti-doping manager Anne Gripper,
admitting she wasn't aware of Duarte's outstanding anti-doping case until
Friday. UCI doctor Mario Zorzoli said that a positive test for testosterone
had to be confirmed by an IRMS test, as was done in the case of Floyd
Landis at the 2006 Tour de France.
"We will re-open his case," Zorzoli told Cyclingnews.
Relaxed Bertagnolli enjoying Varese
By Gregor Brown in Varese
Photo ©: Sirotti
Leonardo Bertagnolli is the most relaxed member of Team Italy's squadra
azzurra as the elite men's World Championship approaches. The 30 year-old
from Trento is one of two reserves for the nine-man team of defending
champion Paolo Bettini.
"It is beautiful, but I don't feel any tension because I won't
be racing it is different," said Bertagnolli to Cyclingnews
Wednesday evening. "I am in form these days and the team is going
strong. I am sorry that I will not be able to race, but I am content to
be here and in the team."
Team Director Franco Ballerini named the nine-man team on September
15 and listed Bertagnolli winner of Trofeo Melinda and Deutschland
Tour stage three and Francesco Ginanni as the two reserves. They
will fill in if one of the nine others cannot race. Last year, Danilo
Di Luca pulled out due to a doping investigation and Ballerini replaced
him with Matteo Tosatto.
The 2008 team consists of Bettini, Damiano Cunego, Davide Rebellin,
Alessandro Ballan, Luca Paolini, Gabriele Bosisio, Marzio Bruseghin, Andrea
Tonti and Tosatto. The team heads out every morning for its training rides
from Hotel Le Robinie. Bertagnolli joins the other members, including
room-mate Cunego, and local professionals every day on the outings.
"Today [Thursday] we did 180 kilometres and tomorrow we will do
three to four hours," he said. "Friday we will do some work
behind the car and Saturday will be a 'relaxed' day. ... Cunego is calm,
I have known him since we were together at Team Saeco, and he never is
affected by the tension very calm."
Bertagnolli announced he will leave Team Liquigas this year to join
Team Nippo/Knauf for 2009 and 2010. The team is expanding for next year
with the news of its new sponsor Knauf and directeur sportifs Giuseppe
Martinelli and Guido Bontempi.
"The team is young but it is managed well. There is Martinelli;
he gives me a lot of faith. There is also Bontempi, I know them both well
and they both have experience."
Leipheimer dismisses withdrawal claims
By Shane Stokes
Levi Leipheimer (USA)
US rider Levi Leipheimer has dismissed media reports that he pulled out of the
US team for Sunday's elite road race at the World Championships, stating
that USA Cycling was aware that he would only do the time trial.
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
"I had never planned on starting, my intentions were always about
the time trial," Leipheimer told Cyclingnews this weekend.
"I did not pull out of the road race. [USA Cycling's] Andy Lee knew
this all along, yet when I arrived in the US, I read his statements saying
I pulled out. This is not true."
USA Cycling spokesman Lee told Cyclingnews that Leipheimer, "didn't feel up for the leadership of
our relatively young team at the road race".
The Team Astana rider finished up his 2008 season with second place overall
in the Vuelta a España, plus fourth place in Thursday's elite time
trial. He was 13 seconds behind team-mate David Zabriskie there, narrowly
missing out on a bronze medal.
Van Garderen experiences Worlds
By Gregor Brown in Varese, Italy
America's Tejay Van Garderen closed out his fourth World Championships
in Thursday's Under-23 road race. Two days after his 42nd place in the
time trial, Van Garderen formed part of the five-man national team for
the 173.35-kilometre race.
"There were attacks all the time and we were trying to follow moves.
I went with that one break that was bridging up. I wish it could have
gone further," said Van Garderen to Cyclingnews.
The move did not succeed and Van Garderen settled into a group that
contained teammates Chad Beyer and Peter Stetina. The group finished
33 seconds back from winner, Colombian Fabio Duarte.
"The legs are a little flat after a long season. Usually, at this
time of the year, I am completely dead and after the time trial, I thought
it was the same case. I am glad I was able to finish the races and follow
the moves. The US team here does not have a lot of pressure. We proved
in l'Avenir we are the main team to contend with, but that is in stage
races and we've never really proven ourselves in one-day races."
Van Garderen won stage nine and finished eighth overall in France's
Tour de l'Avenir earlier this month.
Van Garderen was pleased to be in Varese even if his team did not medal.
"The World Championship you have to do as many times as you can to
get your experience. I try to play it down and not get nervous. I have
done it twice as the juniors and twice in the under-23 category."
He travels to Spain before closing out his season. "I hope
to stay for Sunday and watch the men's race."
Irish men ready for Worlds
Photo ©: Sirotti
Nicolas Roche, Philip Deignan and Roger Aiken will round out the Irish
team in the elite men's road race at the UCI World Road Championships
in Varese, Italy on Sunday. The three-man Irish team will be severely
outnumbered by the bigger teams like Luxembourg and Italy, who have qualified
for nine riders under the UCI regulations for team ranking.
However, Cycling Ireland performance director Frank Campbell is delighted
that the team will be riding in the best shape possible.
"The team is looking terrific," said Campbell, "particularly
Deignan and Roche. Roche's ride in the Vuelta España was a superb
result for him and for the nation as a whole to have somebody back riding
in a 'Grand Tour' at such a level. It was superb for him to finish thirteenth
overall, get second on a stage and six or seven top tens and if he brings
that form to this course it will be useful. This course suits him more
than the rest of the team.
"Deignan has just finished the Tour of Poland and although he didn't
get super results, he rode very strongly. He's back from Beijing and has
already signed for the new Cervelo team next year and he is looking forward
to these Championships."
"Roger just has to take the form that he has gained from riding
in Ireland in the Rás and the Tour of Ireland. We have asked him
to bring that super form with him to help the boys as much as possible,"
said Campbell: "We don't have enough riders to control the race like
"We will have to use the experience and expertise of Roche and Deignan
to get Roche to the 200km plus mark as fresh as possible. That's where
we think the race will be decided. 260km is unknown for most of the riders
here. We have two guys riding here at the highest level and they know
what it is all about."
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