First Edition Cycling News for September 30, 2007
Edited by Sue George
Bastianelli takes gold for Italy
By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart
Bastianelli said after the race that the motive for her attack was to thin the front group down and thus boost the chances for Bronzini in the sprint. However her strength plus some patchy co-operation behind by the other favourites saw her take the rainbow jersey.
"I attacked a long way before the finish, with perhaps 15 kilometres to go," said a delighted Bastianelli after the race. "I got a gap of 20 seconds. I only started to believe it was possible about five kilometers from line, because my team manager said then that I had to give it everything because there was a real chance [of winning]. But it was only when I saw the finishing line that I really understood and believed that the title was mine."
With Bastianelli landing gold, an aptly-named Bronzini taking bronze and Noemi Cantele in fifth, the women's Squadra Azzurra showed that they have coped well with a stressful week. They are staying in the same hotel as the men's team and so have experienced firsthand the media attention that has been focussed on Paolo Bettini and Danilo di Luca. Race organisers wanted both elite male riders out of the event.
Bastianelli said that maintaining focus was crucial to their success. "The week was very difficult for the team and the women also because of all of the things that were going on. There were many people in the hotel - journalists, photographers and others.
"It was a problem for them [the Elite men's team] but also for us. We decided to take it easy about everything and be very serene. Last night we had a final meeting and we decided just to put the problems aside and just concentrate on the race.
"This was the sort of course to do that on and we hope tomorrow they [the elite men] will also win the race because they really deserve it.
"We are practicing the sport in a very clean way, even if it was said this week by some that it wasn't the case. It is not like that. It is very important for us to show what we are able to do."
Pooley climbs well and avoids falling barriers
By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart
"I didn't feel like I was having a great race, to be honest. My positioning was not very good and the others were helping me a lot to stay in the right place. If it hadn't been for them, I would have had a very hard time.
"Rachel [Heal], Cath [Catherine Hare] and Lizzie [Elizabeth Armitstead] were great, they were basically bullying me into going to the front. The course was very hard but I wouldn't actually say it was a climber's course - it was more of a descender's course. It was windy, it is hilly, it is technical - it is a nightmare!"
She talked about how the race unfolded, saying that she couldn't snap the elastic and go clear. "There was an Italian up the road and then a Canadian went. I was just trying to sit in and save myself to attack on the last hill, where it was steep. I did that but I didn't get away. I attacked several times in the last couple of laps, but the jumps weren't very effective in that I didn't get away.
"Nobody wanted to chase but they were very good at hanging on. [Because of the efforts] I was just hanging on for the last kilometre but I was lucky that the last part was uphill as I got past a few people there. I was in so much pain in the last few hundred metres."
Pooley had a nervous time in the bunch, going very close to a pileup caused when the wind blew over the roadside banners. "There were so many crashes out there. I was right behind the big crash when the barriers came down. Luckily I wasn't a few places further up the bunch, because I would have been in it.
"What happened seemed a bit harsh, to me. You'd imagine that they would have angled the barriers for the wind or something."
German women not happy
By Susan Westemeyer
The German women were looking to at least take another medal in the road race Saturday, but it didn't work out that way. They weren't happy with the results and looked for someone to blame.
Trixi Worrack was the highest finisher, in 18th place, 13 seconds behind winner Marta Bastianelli. Captain Judith Arndt finished 21st, some 57 seconds down.
Arndt's problem was that she crashed twice in the race, the last time only 11 km before the finish. Although she caught up with the leading group, she was unable to do more, and was ultimately unable to stay with it. "I crashed twice, there was nothing more to do. We have been successful the last three years, this year we weren't," she told the dpa press agency. "Trixi had no chances being all alone at the end."
Hanka Kupfernagel knows who was at fault. "It wasn't the girls' fault today, that it didn't work out, but more the team directors'. I was supposed to attack first, along with Luise Keller. I hadn't expected that -- maybe if I had been tenth in the time trial." Kupfernagel, was, of course, the time trial winner. "That's why I was a little angry when I rode. At the last attack my legs exploded. I am not a machine." She finished 55th, 2'44" down.
"Hanke did her duty," said national team director Jochen Dornbusch diplomatically.
Bodrogi moves up the steps regardless of nationality
By Gregor Brown in Stuttgart
Laszlo Bodrogi is moving in the right direction. The 30 year-old Hungarian finished second to Fabian Cancellara in the Time Trial World Championships on Thursday, one place up from his third place way back in 2000. He believes that the future will hold rainbow colours, regardless of the country he is representing.
"From seven years ago, I have gone up one step, from third to second," he said Saturday afternoon to Cyclingnews. Back in 2000, he was racing for Mapei, and has since moved from Quick.Step and now to Roger Legeay's Crédit Agricole. "I think that first spot will come one of these days. The form was there from the Vuelta [a España], second in a time trial; I used the race to prepare for the Worlds. I took a week off after the Vuelta, and went to my home in France. I trained there in the week, and then drove here to Stuttgart.
"I am the only elite level rider here [for Hungary], I did the TT and I will also be the only one for the road race. There are a lot of supporting staff from the federation, however, most of those will go home after the Under 23 race. There will be about three that will remain, along with some Crédit Agricole staff."
Bodrogi is the only elite man to represent Hungary in the World Championships. A home and family in France, along with a lack of support from his native country have led the time trial rider to consider switching nationalities.
"Soon I will make the documents necessary to ride for France. My wife and children are French. It is normal that I also ask for French nationality."
He believes he will have no problems being selected for the French squad to compete in the Worlds and Olympics based on his good time trial skills. "I am a specialist in the time trial, and in France there are not a lot like me. For the time trial [selection] it will to be a problem. When the team makes its picks for the time trial, it could also consider me for the road. Last year I finished in 19th at the worlds, so it is possible to ride a good road race."
The switch could allow Bodrogi to race under the blue, white and red colours of France for the 2008 Olympics. "I don't know how fast the paper work will be done, or if I will be on the French team for the 2008 Worlds or Olympics," Bodrogi pondered. "The Hungarian federation will not be very content when a rider like me goes away. However, there are many problems with the federation. It said I could do the Worlds but it had not given me any money for the hotels or my travels. It did it how it wanted. I was left to do it on my own, with the help of Crédit Agricole. [The Crédit Agricole team] think that I can make a good result, which is good for them, and they make a small investment for me."
As Bodrogi pointed out, he finished well in last year's World Championship in Salzburg. He reckoned he has a chance for Sunday's 267.4-kilometre test, where he will be up against 2006 champion and his old Mapei team-mate, Paolo Bettini. "Tomorrow's road course is harder than last year," he said.
"I think that it will be like last year in that there will be lap after lap with an escape that is allowed to go free. Then the finale will be the time for the leaders of the big nations to move to the front. It will be hard for many riders to stay with the main group and finish. For me it will be a goal to stay with the front group."
He will close out his year with two more races and then enjoy a nice winter at home in France. "There are still two more races, the Circuit Franco-Belge and then Paris-Tours."
Velits brothers stick close
By Jean-François Quénet in Stuttgart
Barry Austin had something to celebrate after the U23 men's world championship road race Saturday. He was the coach who offered a place to winner Slovakian Peter Velits and his twin brother Martin in 2005. Austin hosted them for months several times in the past three years at his home in Gauteng, and the twins will again return to South Africa in mid-November. Martin's girlfriend Yolandi Du Toit (South Africa) rode the elite women's race earlier in the day.
"We understand each other to perfection," said Peter of his relationship with his brother. "When we race, we know how the other feels." This happened again Saturday in the finale of the World's race in Stuttgart.
"I pulled Peter back to the front at the one kilometer to go mark," Martin explained. "I knew he could finish the job the way he did it."
"It was a very hard race but I always had the impression it would finish with a bunch sprint. Nobody really wanted to take the initiative," said Peter. "The wind didn't favor the attacks. Maybe the course was too hard and most of the guys were afraid to attack. The sprint was a bit chaotic but it went as I wanted to. I liked it because it was uphill.
"I didn't focus on one rider in particular. It was important to be well positioned in the last curve. I also had a bit of luck that the road opened where I was. I found the hole for putting myself in first place."
Peter Velits is no sprinting novice. He outsprinted Baden Cooke and Daniele Nardello for the win of the GP Fourmies two weeks ago. 2007 is the second year in a row in which members of ProContinental teams are allowed to take part in the U23 race for the rainbow jersey. It's also the second year in a row in which the U23 winner has hailed from Team Wiesenhof. Velits' victory follows Gerald Ciolek's, but there won't be a third because Wiesenhof will end of its team sponsorship at the end of 2007.
The Velits brothers are virtually without a team for next year. "Now with this result, we should find something," they said. "I've had a few vague offers but I didn't want to go without my brother," added Peter. "With our manager, we decided to wait for the Worlds."
They prepared for the Worlds with the advice of Thomas Schedewie, also Andreas Klöden's coach. After living in Tongeren, Belgium, for a year, the brothers went to train in Holland on the Cauberg because they had heard that the final hill of the Amstel Gold Race offered a similar terrain as the course of Stuttgart's event.
"I still don't know if I'm more of a stage race rider or a one-day rider," said Peter. He also showed some potential by finishing 23rd in the Tour of Germany this year, second in the GP Tell, and fourth in the Tour de Bretagne in 2006, the year he won the Giro del Capo in South Africa. In 2005, he won the Vuelta Navarra.
"At some races, I was impressed by hearing this name Velits so many times in breakaways, until I realized there were two Velits," remembered Austin, who can proudly claim to have spotted the two young, talented brothers. Velits claims the first-ever Slovakian title on the road after the nation's previous best result of a silver medal by Milan Dvorscik at the amateur World's in Sicily in 1994.
Sulzberger claims Australia's first medal at worlds
By Gennie Sheer
Tasmanian Wesley Sulzberger claimed Australia's first medal at this year's UCI Road Cycling World Championships with his silver medal ride in the 172 kilometre U23 men's road race. 20 year-old Sulzberger sprinted home second behind Slovakian Peter Velits who won the world title in a time of 4:21:22 with Britain's Jonathan Bellis third.
"It's absolutely unbelievable and I can't quite believe it yet," said an overjoyed Sulzberger. "It hasn't sunk in."
The race ended in a bunch sprint of around 50 riders despite attacks by numerous riders in the last two of the nine laps of the Stuttgart circuit.
"We had Simon Clarke up in the break and he did an excellent job and it looked like he was going to be the man but the break came back," explained Sulzberger.
It then looked as if the Australian hopes of a podium finish were lost but the race came back together with four kilometres remaining.
"I managed to get in reasonable position and Simon (Clarke) then helped me out in the last kilometre leading me up to the couple of guys who were off the front," said Sulzberger. "It was great teamwork by the Aussies and Zak (Dempster) and Johnnie (Walker) did a great job helping us earlier in the day as well."
Sulzberger banged his handlebars after crossing the line seemingly in frustration at being pipped on the line but he says it was more in amazement at his achievement.
"I was more hitting the bars in disbelief because I couldn't believe I was a chance to be up there at the finish," said Sulzberger. "I was a long way back at tenth wheel going into the last corner and came from nowhere and gave it everything and ended up popping up there at the finish."
Reigning Australian U23 road champion Sulzberger, who'd spent the season racing and training in Europe, said he and Clarke went into the race aiming for a top five finish. "We had great hopes we'd finish up there so it's great to finish second."
Horner's future remains in play
By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas, Nevada
American Chris Horner made it known in August that he was very much open to new team possibilities for the 2008 season. Not long after rumors that he was being courted by the up and coming American Rock Racing team surfaced, and was recently confirmed by Cyclingnews at the Interbike trade show last week. However, it seems that Horner may still on the market as Slipstream-Chipotle is now expressing serious interest in the ProTour domestique.
Director sportif Jonathan Vaughters told Cyclingnews that his negotiations with another ProTour domestique, Discovery Channel's Jason McCartney, had come to an end without the two agreeing on a contract. This leaves one more allowable spot on the team per UCI regulations, which Vaughters is hoping to fill with the experienced Horner.
The bidding for Horner could turn interesting as the Rock & Republic backed domestic team, owned by the aggressive businessman and designer Michael Ball, will be matching up against a team with a budget approaching ProTour levels.
Spanish team content despite bad luck
By Monika Prell in Stuttgart
The Spanish team was quite satisfied of their third day of racing in the World championships in Stuttgart, even if the performance was weakened by many crashes. Cyclingnews talked with members of the team after Saturday's races.
Three of the Spanish women finished the race. Their leader, Maribel Moreno, finished 14th, only six seconds behind the winner Marta Bastianelli (Italy). Moreno said after the finish, "I wanted to thank the selector for the confidence he had in me and my team-mates for the great work they did. We need points for the Olympic games, and I did what I could. The crash rattled me a lot, but luckily I am not injured, and the bike was also ok.
"I am quite happy with my race, and I rode also a very good season and showed that I am amongst the best ones," said Moreno. "To participate in these World championships was a step forward for me. My team-mates gave their best and I have to thank them. It's a young team but I believe that we have a great future."
Catalan Marta Vila, who finished 61, 10 minutes and 29 seconds back, said, "I felt very good until the sixth round, I worked a lot and controlled the race but just after the crash, I was in the second group and had no forces to go ahead. I am content of my work, even if I would have liked to be near to Maribel [Moreno] on the last lap. The balance is positive, I believe worked great together, and 14th for Maribel is a good result."
Basque racer Eneritz Iturriagaetxebarria finished 72nd, 12 minutes 40 seconds behind the Italian. She was injured in the last crash and lamented, "What a pity that I crashed, because just at that moment I felt very well. I attacked in the fourth lap because I wanted to try something and I saw that I was very fast. Just before the crash I talked to Maribel [Moreno] because we wanted to try another attack. The safety fence fell down on me, and I suffer a lot of pain in the hip and my collarbone. I long for next season because in this one I had a lot of bad luck."
Later in the day, the Under 23 men got their turn. José Herrada came out the best, finishing 24th with the same time as the winner, Peter Velits. "We began quite slow, but in the third, fourth round the battle began," said Herrada. "At the end I am content, even if I saw that [Beñat] Intxausti accelerated in the finish, so that I did not sprint. I should have sprinted . I liked the world championships here, it's nice and we have great crowds."
Diego Milán, who finished 61st one minute and twenty seconds behind Velits, was tired at the finish line. "The race was good, but I am sorry that I could not profit from being in the big group. I had a lot of problems with my chain that broke. The profile is very hard, and I had a lot of pressure, so that together with the crashes the race seemed to be hard."
The Basque Beñat Intxausti who finished 60th, one minute behind the winner, was content about the profile and the race, "It was a good World championships race, for riders with a lot of power. I am content with my performance. The profile was my thing; I preferred it to a flat one."
Stuttgart refusing to pay money owed to UCI & German federation
In the latest round of the conflict between the Stuttgart and the UCI, officials from the host city of the UCI Road World Championships indicated they would not pay money owed to the UCI because it feels the UCI has not taken sufficient measures against doping.
"We will not hand over taxpayers' money to any organisation that is not fighting seriously against doping," Mayor Wolfgang Schuster told the Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper according to Eurosport. On the line are 600,000 Euros due to the UCI and 75,000 Euros due to the German Cycling Federation.
UCI President Pat McQuaid did not confirm the remaining amount owed on the organizers' contract, but he say according to Eurosport, "It's been reported that Stuttgart is refusing to pay the third and final installment in the contract with the UCI and I think we can take that as a statement coming from the city. We have a legal contract and we expect it to be adhered to. We'll take whatever steps we can to make sure it is."
Stuttgart's threats are a response to some riders being allowed to compete despite not signing the anti-doping pledge. Defending world champion Paolo Bettini is one such rider. A court overturned a request to ban him from competition at worlds after not signing the official pledge.
Schreck to Gerolsteiner
By Susan Westemeyer
Stephan Schreck of T-Mobile will join Gerolsteiner next year, he announced Saturday in Stuttgart. "A one-year contract is no problem for me," he said, looking at his new team's uncertain future -- it is losing its sponsor at the end of 2008. "I see my change as an option for the future, naturally beyond 2008."
"Stephan will help us a lot with his experience," said team manager Hans-Michael Holczer of the 29 year-old. "It is a sign of trust, that he has chosen us."
FCV announces women's track development program
The Forest City Velodrome (FCV) in London, Ontario, in Canda, will be supporting a developmental program to assist athletic women between ages 15 and 25. No prior cycling experience is required. Along with the program come free instruction, track bike rentals, and the cost of start up equipment.
Interested individuals or groups will come to FCV on an ongoing basis to train, race, and eventually compete at the provincial and national levels. Individual training programs will be integrated with other activities the athletes are involved with, accommodating school and work commitments.
Subsequent benefits will include ongoing training and support and assistance attending the Canadian National Track Championships and competitive events at other tracks. Squad members will be asked to purchase an FCV student membership and participate in either two training sessions per week or one training session and one race night, on an ongoing basis. A three week trial period of Saturday afternoon rides is open to interested rider prior to making any commitment.
The first weekend camp is scheduled for Saturday, October 13 from 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm, and will wrap up on Sunday, October 14 from 9:30 am - 1:00 pm. All camp costs are supported by the FCV and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. For more info, contact Dina Ridha, Development Program Liaison at info@ForestCityVelodrome.ca or visit www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)