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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, August 23, 2008

Edited by Laura Weislo

Greipel racks up win number ten

Greipel took his 10th season victory.
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

Team Columbia's sprinter André Greipel took his tenth victory of the season in stage two of the Eneco Tour on Friday. The German, who led the ProTour after taking four stages and the overall at the series' first event, the Tour Down Under, beat Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo (CSC-Saxo Bank) and Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) in a rain-soaked sprint finish in Nieuwegein, in the north of the Netherlands. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) was fourth and stage one winner Tom Boonen was fifth.

The team also moved its young Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen into a near tie with Spain's Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) for the overall classification through time bonuses at the intermediate sprints. Hagen now trails Gutierrez by just 16 hundredths of a second - that fraction determined by the opening prologue time trial.

Team director Tristan Hoffman said that the close margin means it could be possible to take the overall lead from Caisse d'Epargne in the next few days. "However we don't want to wear out the team and then lose the race by several minutes. We're going to ride smart," he said.

Greipel, the winner of a stage in the Giro d'Italia, took the stage in a photo-finish sprint against Haedo. "I've lost count of how many sprints André has won this year," said Hoffman. "He dominated the Tour Down Under in Australia and has won another ProTour stage here. He and all the team were good today.

"John Devine and Servais Knaven worked with other teams to chase the break and then the boys dominated the sprint. There were two lead out trains: Columbia and Liquigas for Bennati but we were the fastest yet again."

See also Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Eneco Tour.

Hinault has a good ride in Limousin

By Gerard Cromwell

Sébastien Hinault (Crédit Agricole) at the Tour de Suisse
Photo ©: Isabelle Duchesne
(Click for larger image)

The soon to be defunct Crédit Agricole team got a good morale boost prior to their departure for the Vuelta España with victory for Sébastien Hinault at the Tour de Limousin Friday. Hinault won the race by a single second from both Aussie Allan Davis (Mitsubishi Jartazi) and stage two winner Yakira Arishiro (Meitan Hompo-GDR).

The final stage saw an attack by Benoit Vaugrenard (Francaise de Jeux) and his team-mate Frédéric Guesdon surprise the peloton with two kilometres to go. Although Guesdon was reeled in by the sprinters, Vaugrenard held out to take stage victory and eat up the ten second time bonus on the line.

With six seconds for second place and four seconds for third, the overall classification was to be decided in the gallop to the line. The Bouyges Telecom duo Pierrick Fédrigo and Jérôme Pineau rounded out the podium, as Davis could only manage fifth, with Hinault close by in seventh.

A stage win and two days in yellow each for Nicholas Roche and Hinault proved Crédit Agricole are in good form as the Tour of Spain looms next weekend. Roche won the opening stage on Wednesday, soloing to a three second advantage after spending 160kms of the 183km stage out front with two other riders. The 24-year-old held onto his yellow jersey the following day with a second place on stage two, but the mountainous third day on Friday proved too much for the Dubliner.

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Having neglected to eat and drink sufficiently during the early part of yesterday's mountain stage as he chased time bonuses and tried to mark early attacks, Roche suffered the hunger knock shortly after the first climb of the day and eventually lost 29 minutes to a 28 man escape group. He had some consolation in the fact that the stage was won by his Crédit Agricole team-mate Hinault, who inherited the Irishman's yellow jersey. Today Roche set about helping the Frenchman, who has been with the team for ten years, defend his slim one second lead over Davis.

"Sébastien is a good sprinter but he's not one of the really top sprinters, like Boonen or Cavendish," said Roche after the stage. "We were lucky enough today that we didn't have to ride too much because Mitsubishi-Jartazi thought Allan Davis would beat him to win the stage and take the race overall with the time bonuses."

Crédit Agricole allowed small groups away to take the early time bonuses on offer during the stage, leaving the sprint to the finish to decide the overall outcome. "There were attacks all day, but all Sébastien had to do was follow Allan Davis," said Roche. "On the final climb about 10kms from the finish, I had to ride full gas all the way up, to discourage any attacks and keep the peloton together.

"After that it was fingers crossed Sébastien could hold on for the overall win and he did it. It's been a good week for the team. I go home for a few days now and then I leave for the Vuelta on Wednesday morning. Hopefully I can do something on some of the harder flat stages and hang on in the mountains, where I'm not quite up to the level yet," said Roche.

Judges overturn Paolini's win in Regio Tour

By Bjorn Haake

The Rothaus Regio-Tour saw a switch in the results on stage three after Italian Luca Paolini crossed the line first ahead of Robert Retschke (Mapei Heizomat), but was then relegated to second for moving off his line in the final 200 metres.

The duo was sprinting for the victory in Wehr when Paolini moved over and almost forced Retschke into the barriers. It didn't take the judges long to come up with the ruling, giving Retschke a big win for the small German team.

Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez led a group of 22 riders home a couple of seconds behind Retschke and Paolini. Retschke agreed with the judge's decision. "I actually touched the barriers. I can be happy that I didn't crash. I needed to stop pedaling and hit my brakes, so I think I definitely was impeded."

Being awarded the stage win quickly brightened the German's mood. "The first two stages I didn't have the form I wanted to be in. I was hoping to be better with regards to the overall. But now with the stage victory, I redeemed myself a bit."

Manuel Vazquez Hueso (Contentpolis - Murcia) leads the overall classification ahead of Chavez by one second going into Saturday's penultimate stage, a 14.2 kilometre time trial.

Can Cantele make it three?

By Ben Atkins

Noemi Cantelle wins for the second time
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

With the Olympic games out of the way, the women's peloton once again turns its attention to the World Cup. This, the penultimate round, takes place on a rolling circuit around the cycling-crazy town of Plouay, southern Brittany near the west coast of France.

The women will complete 6 laps of the 19.1km circuit, making a total of 114.6km. The course is identical to that used in the past two editions, featuring three short climbs and plenty of the twists and turns that characterise this part of France.

The race has yet to finish in a bunch sprint – although it has been won by sprinters – as the last of the three climbs tops out with just over 2km to go. It was here that Italian Noemi Cantele (Bigla) accelerated last year, distancing her breakaway companions to finish alone and take her second victory in the race.

Cantele returns to defend the race that she won in 2005 and 2007, leading the Bigla team which should be one of the strongest in the race. The race years has belonged to the Swiss team in recent as Nicole Brändli won in 2006, so maybe it's her turn again this time around. In addition to the two former winners, the team also includes Jennifer Hohl and Zulfia Zabirova – Swiss and Kazakh champions respectively – both of whom played a role in the Olympic race in Beijing.

The Italian defending champion is the only member of last year's podium present in this year's race. Newly crowned Olympic champion Nicole Cooke was second here last year – as well as winning in 2003 – but her limited programme this year does not include this particular round of the World Cup. Last year's third place, world champion Marta Bastianelli, is currently awaiting her fate after returning a non-negative sample at the under-23 European championships in June.

Columbia's Judith Arndt brings an 87-point lead in the World Cup standings and will look to secure overall victory in the competition as some consolation for her disappointment in the Olympic races. The German former world champion was one of the most attentive riders in Beijing, but was unable to chase down the winning break. Arndt will be able to call upon the climbing talents of German champion Luise Keller as well as the strength of riders like Vargarda second place finisher Kimberly Anderson and the sprinting power of Ina Teutenberg.

Continue to the full preview.

Rise of the British Track Empire

Jason Kenny and Chris Hoy (Great Britain)
Photo ©: Casey Gibson
(Click for larger image)

They came as prospectors and went home with the mother lode: seven gold medals, three silver and two bronze later, the British had taken the domination they displayed on their home track to a whole new level at the Beijing Olympic Games. Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo looks back at how Great Britain established its empire in the Laoshan velodrome.

After the world championships in Manchester, it was clear that the track cycling team from Great Britain was on to something. Little did their competitors know that they had only seen the start of what would be near-total domination of the track events by the British in the Olympic Games in Beijing.

By winning each and every non-mass start event and the men's keirin to boot, the Brits showed just what a programme which is well-funded, well-staffed and constantly developing new talent can do. Beginning in 1997, the country began using lottery funds to develop its Olympic sports. This bore fruit quickly in Sydney: Jason Queally took home gold in the kilo, Yvonne McGregor became the first British woman to medal in cycling, and medals in the team sprint (silver) and team pursuit (bronze) signaled the start of the new British empire.

In Athens, the Brits doubled the number of golds, taking top honours in the kilo with Chris Hoy and the individual pursuit with Bradley Wiggins, but was disappointed on several other fronts. Victoria Pendleton failed to make it past the first round in the women's sprint, and the men's team sprinters didn't make the final.

Fast forward to Beijing, and the Brits' years of work developing talent, training and technology along with an 8 million pound budget geared mainly toward success at the 2012 London Summer Olympic games left previously dominant countries such as Australia wondering where they went wrong.

The sprinters: Unbeatable finishes

The British team made a clean sweep of the sprint events, even going one-two in the men's sprint and keirin. In fact, the Brits never lost a single heat in any of the sprint events (except where they went 1-2).

It all began and ended with a Scot named Chris Hoy. This muscle-bound fireplug of a man anchored the team sprint to a new (unofficial) world record in the qualifying round, but gave much of the credit to the 20-year-old former BMX-er Jason Kenny whose second lap was one of the fastest ever recorded, and Jamie Staff, who went more than two-tenths of a second faster than the French on the opening lap.

They then went on to obliterate the heavily favoured world champion French team in the final, leading to the understatement of the week by French coach Gerard Quintyn: "It was quickly apparent that they [the British] had made much progress since the World Championships in Manchester."

Continue to the full feature.

Airline tragedy strikes cycling world

When the Spanair flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands crashed on Wednesday, killing 153 people, it took with it one of the patrons of Spanish cycling, José Joaquín Pérez de Obanos. A friend of Caisse d'Epargne manager José Miguel Echávarri, Pérez was a passionate supporter of cycling who had worked in the organisation of the Vuelta a España in addition to his regular job as the president of the National Federation of Agriculture.

Pérez was to have flown on Thursday, but changed his plans at the last minute, and boarded the doomed flight on Wednesday. It lifted off from the Madrid airport, but then suffered a mechanical incident and crashed to the ground. Only 19 people survived.

According to, Pérez had been friends with Echávarri since they served in the military, and had been a supporter of Spanish teams Reynolds, Banesto, Illes Balears and Caisse d'Epargne. He had visited the team at the Tour de France this summer during the rest day in Pau and the final day in Paris.

Also a friend of the great Miguel Indurain, Pérez helped secure the city of Pamplona, near Indurain's home town, as a Tour de France stage finish in 1996, (near the home of Indurain).

Echávarri remembered his friend, saying, "he gained the respect and the love of those who were fortunate enough to get to know him."

The Cyclingnews extends its condolences to all the friends and family of José Joaquín Pérez de Obanos.

Liquigas, Lampre and Milram for Trofeo Melinda, Plouay

The Liquigas squad will head into the weekend's races, the Trofeo Melinda and GP Ouest France de Plouay, with its team leaders who are looking to tune up their form for the season's last objective - the world championships in Varese. Franco Pellizotti, who recently returned from the Olympic Games, will represent the team in both races, while Filippo Pozzato will focus on the race in France.

"The form is good, I need only to recover the spark lost after the return from Beijing," said Pellizotti. "I know the Melinda very well, and I like it, it's challenging but adapted for my strengths: I really hope to ride well." He will use the races to convince national selector Franco Ballerini that he deserves a spot on Italy's team for the World Championships in September.

He will be joined in Trentino for the Trofeo Melinda by Leonardo Bertagnolli, who took second places in the Tre Valli Varesine and Coppa Agostoni.

Liquigas for Trofeo Melinda: Franco Pellizotti, Leonardo Bertagnolli, Valerio Agnoli, Dario Cataldo, Vladimir Miholjevic, Andrea Noè, Goradz Stangelj and Charles Wegelius.

Pozzato will look to repeat the performance of his young team-mate Vincenzo Nibali, who won the GP Plouay in 2006. After a three weeks training camp in the mountains, he said his form is coming good. "I've little problems in breathing because of the training but I don't think it will be a problem in next few days. The form is good and I really want a victory," Pozzato said.

He is also seeking a position on the Italian squad for the worlds. "It's my first goal. I'm working hard to be ready."

Liquigas for GP Ouest France - Plouay: Filippo Pozzato, Dario Cataldo, Andrea Noè, Kjell Carlström, Murilo Fischer, Aliaksandr Kuchynski and Alessandro Vanotti.

Lampre's Damiano Cunego has recovered from his crash at the Tour de France, and showed his form is coming good with a third place at the Tre Valli Varesine this week. He will be joined in Plouay by Alessandro Ballan, Marco Bandiera, Francesco Gavazzi, Mirco Lorenzetto, Marco Marzano, Massimiliano Mori and Paolo Tiralongo.

Milram will rely on Bayern-Rundfahrt winner Christian Knees to captain its team for the 229.2 kilometre long GP Ouest France - Plouay. "Such middle-difficulty races are difficult to predict and always good for a surprise winner," said Knees. "After my long break from racing it will be a good test for me so soon before the Deutschland Tour."

Milram for Plouay: Martin Müller, Ralf Grabsch, Christian Kux, Alberto Ongarato, Sergio Ghisalberti, Peter Velits and Volodymyr Diudia.

British champ to lead team at Tour of Britain

By BikeRadar

Robert Hayles (Halfords / Bike Hut)
Photo ©: Gerry McManus
(Click for larger image)

British road race champion Rob Hayles will be joined by Halfords-Bikehut teammate Tom Southam to represent Great Britain for the 2008 Tour of Britain, which begins in London on September 7.

Rounding out the Great Britain team are Ben Swift, Ian Stannard, Jonathan McEvoy and Andy Tennant, with former road professional Max Sciandri as team manager.

Hayles told British Cycling he was very pleased to have been selected and happy to go for either the overall or stage victories. Asked to put his neck on the line and say which stages he feels may suit him, he explained that although there are "some quite lumpy stages in the race, the first (London) and last (Liverpool) stages" may well suit him. The three-time Olympic medalist is confident no one will touch him in the sprints.

To prepare for the event, he and Southam rode the Surrey League Five day last week. Southam won the race, which was the final event in both riders programme until the Tour starts. In the meantime, both riders will be tapering their training and getting into the best possible shape for the first iconic stage in London along the river Thames.

Swift won the King of the Mountains jersey for the 2007 race, and rode well in the Beijing Olympic road race, as well as finishing fourth in the Under 23 European road race championship.

Stannard, based in Belgium, along with Tennant and McEvoy, will fly in from the European Track Championships in Poland a day before the race.

Riders from Team Great Britain have taken stage victories in each of the last three editions of the race. In last year's race, Paul Manning, who won gold in Beijing last week, won the final stage of the race and in 2005 and 2006, Roger Hammond won stages.

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