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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition Cycling News, September 1, 2008

Edited by Bjorn Haake

Pinotti bags Tour of Ireland victory

By Shane Stokes in Cork

A happy Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia) receives the final yellow
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

Team Columbia completed a spectacular Tour of Ireland campaign today, with Italian Marco Pinotti scooping the overall victory in Cork and Frantisek Rabon landing the team's fourth stage win in five days.

Rabon and second-placed rider Fredrik Ericsson (Pezula Racing) were part of a larger breakaway group which went clear early on, and was reduced to those two riders after the first of four ascents of St. Patrick's Hill. They stayed clear until the end of the stage, where Rabon surged ahead and won by fifteen seconds.

Behind, the general classification contenders fired off numerous attacks at race leader Russell Downing, the Pinarello CandiTV rider fighting strongly and succeeding in bringing back a dangerous move by Michael Barry (Team Columbia). He also covered a subsequent attack by his closest rival Julian Dean (Garmin Chipotle), but had nothing left when Pinotti raced clear with approximately ten kilometres to go.

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The 32-year-old has serious horsepower, being a triple Italian time trial champion and also having won against the clock on the final stage of this year's Tour of Italy, and once he got a gap there was no bringing him back. He soloed in to the finish, hitting the line one minute and four seconds behind Rabon but, crucially, 33 seconds up on Downing, Lars Petter Nordhaug (Joker Bianchi Team), Dean and Barry.

"I am delighted with this, it is my first stage race victory," he said. "This was already my best pro season but this is really the cherry on top of the cake – I am very happy. Before the stage I didn't think the circuit would suit me but it worked out very well. My teammate Michael Barry attacked and after he was brought back, I went. I got a gap and was able to pull further ahead by the finish."

Check out more of the race coverage

Martínez: Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Egoi Martínez was in the break today
Photo ©:
(Click for larger image)

Egoi Martínez was in the first major break today in the second stage of the Vuelta a España. He desperately wanted the break to succeed and was even thinking about the leader's jersey. Martínez was happy with the day, despite coming short on both accounts.

"We left Granada with the intention to surprise and snatch the yellow jersey. We knew it would be difficult, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. The objective was to split the big group and take advantage of the two medium passes." Martínez was hoping the break would stay away until the finish or that at least Liquigas and Caisse d'Epargne would not be around in the final.

Things didn't go according to plan. "We were caught mid-way, but today's stage says much about the attitude of the team and the motivation we have." Martínez was realistic enough to acknowledge today's stage was a long shot for the Basque outfit. "We are conscious that we don't have that sort of rider for a finish like today, but Landaluze also tried in the final kilometres. If you wait for the final it is virtually impossible to get past Valverde or Rebellin."

Martínez personally is hoping to ride a good Vuelta, with his desire to racing having returned. For a while he was distracted and busy becoming a father earlier this summer. "Since the end of the Tour, I have not thought much about bicycling."

Sastre sees a strong Valverde

Carlos Sastre is interested in winning his second Grand Tour for the year, with the Vuelta a España. Sastre already won the Tour de France in July.

The beginning of the race is always nervous and Sastre will be trying to keep a low profile until the second week, when the mountains start. "We already had the first road stage in the Vuelta. It was very fast all day and we had a headwind almost all day long."

Sastre didn't have much to complain about the race. "It was an easy and very hot day day... In the end there was a bit of tension thanks to that small pass some 15 kilometres from the finish. But it was a day without problems for us – a day in which we saw once again a very strong Valverde. He finished [great] like only he knows how to do it."

Milram extends, gobbles up Gerolsteiners

Nordmilch AG, the main sponsor of Milram, has extended its sponsorship until 2010, according to It was also announced that Johannes Fröhlinger and Matthias Ruß have already signed contracts with Milram. Fabian Wegmann and Directeur Sportif Christian Henn are expected to sign at the end of next week. Brothers Thomas and Markus Fothen are also rumoured to make the switch to Milram.

Gerolsteiner announced last year that it would stop sponsoring the bike team at the end of the 2008 season.

Duggan makes racing return in US time trial

By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Greenville, South Carolina

Timmy Duggan is on the path back to racing
Photo ©: Slipstream Sports
(Click for larger image)

Timmy Duggan (Garmin-Chipotle) made his return to racing at the US time trial championships in Greenville, South Carolina, finishing an impressive thirteenth. Impressive because just four months ago he was lying unconscious on the road in the third stage of the Tour de Georgia with severe head injuries, as well as a broken collarbone and scapula.

"It was a bit of a shock to the system," Duggan told Cyclingnews about Saturday's time trial. "I've been training but I haven't gone that hard in months!"

The time trial is just one step in his recovery, as he and his doctors have decided that no more racing for the rest of the year to make a full recovery. He entered the race not knowing how his recent training would translate into racing form, especially in a hard-effort time trial.

"I had no idea how I was going... I kind of told myself either I was going to win or need to drop out in the middle and go to sleep!" he said. "So I am happy just to be here and be at this level again. I know I can be back at this level again. It's still frustrating because it never happens as quickly as you like, but at least I know I'll be there."

US Pro Championships to return to Greenville

By Sue George with additional reporting by Mark Zalewski

After an exciting photo finish to the professional men's US National Championship road race, won by Tyler Hamilton (Rock Racing) on Sunday evening, in Greenville, South Carolina, USA Cycling's Steve Johnson announced the location for the 2009 championship event.

Although 2008 marked the final year of Greenville's current three-year contract to host both the road and time trial national championship, USA Cycling, gave the South Carolina city another year to host.

Previously the professional road championship race was hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as part of what is now the final event of the Commerce Bank Triple Crown race.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the US Professional national road and time trial championships.

De Jongh eyeing Worlds

Steven De Jongh eyes Worlds selection
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Steven De Jongh of Quick Step is showing good form and won the G.P. De Rijke, a UCI 1.1 rated event. The strong Dutchman rider beat German Eric Baumann and the Slovenian Kristjan Koren in a sprint finale. De Jongh dreams of making the Dutch National Team for the Worlds in Varese.

De Jongh was satisfied with another win this year. "It's my third victory so far in the season after the TTT in the Tour of Qatar and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne." The Dutchman saw a general improvement with his fitness. "I'm very happy not only because of the result but also because in the last weeks I have been riding well and my condition is improving day by day."

De Jongh is happy to spend another year with Quick Step. "I have to thank all the team that worked a lot to catch a long breakaway. They controlled the race splendidly. In the last kilometre Steegmans kept the speed high and launched me perfectly. The victory was a consequence of their work."

Getting a good level of fitness is essential for De Jongh, who plans to target the Worlds. "My dream for the last part of the season is to try to be selected for the World Championship in Varese. I like the parcours and I would like to be useful for the National Team after my last experience in 2003."

Thiery wins Rüebliland

Swiss rider Cyrille Thiery dominated the 32nd Grand Prix Rüebliland, a 2.1-ranked juniors race. Thiery led the race from the start and defended his overall lead in the final stage in the best possible way by winning the final stage. Thiery beat his compatriot Silvan Dillier (Friktaler Cycling Team). The duo was four seconds ahead of Luzern's Patrick Lutenauer and six seconds ahead of the peloton.

Thiery, who rode for the Swiss National Team, has good chances to make a name for himself. Winners of the junior event include Tour de Suisse winner Roman Kreuziger (2004), Martin Velits (2003), who rides for Milram or recently retired Beat Zberg (1989). In 2006, the winner was Björn Thurau, who now rides for Elk Haus-Simplon.

Lehikoinen looks towards next season

It's been a season to forget for the Finland's Matti Lehikoinen, with his latest crash in training at the Canberra World Cup taking him out of for the duration of the 2008 season.

Lehikoinen will return home to Finland on Monday, after he decided to have surgery in his home country rather than in Australia. He has broken the radius in both hands, with the right hand being worse than the left. There's still no 100% confirmation on the condition on his scaphoid bones in both hands at the moment, but the possibility of fractures does exist and will need to be explored with his doctors.

Right now the estimated recovery time is at least eight weeks, so Lehikoinen will start looking to the 2009 season.

Before boarding his flight home, Lehikoinen summed up a mediocre year. "This season was really bad for me. Eight weeks recovery time means that I will have been out of game for seven months out of the past 13 months. So now I can forget this unlucky season and concentrate on next year." .

Olympic Heroes Celebrated at Salford Nocturne

Chris Hoy was in attendance at the Salford Nocturne
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Over 5000 spectators descended on Salford Quays on Saturday night, August 30, to enjoy an evening of racing and to welcome home Olympic heroes Chris Hoy, Geraint Thomas and Ed Clancy.

Olympic champions Paul Manning and Bradley Wiggins were also in attendance cheering on their team-mates from the VIP area in the Lowry.

Salford resident Chris Hoy received the biggest cheers as the riders were presented on stage. Hoy later took on Geoff Thomas in a roller race challenge providing an excellent addition to the Nocturne programme.

"It's been a great evening, I've really enjoyed it," said Hoy. "It's fantastic that Salford has been able to put on such a top event. Sport can be real inspiration for people and it's great to see so many people enjoying this event right on their doorsteps. The Quays is an exciting place and the crowds have had a stunning backdrop to watch the races."

The main event of the evening, the Pannone Elite Criterium, featured Clancy and Thomas but the Olympic champions were clearly feeling the effects of their efforts in Beijing as they struggled to challenge the other British pros. Nevertheless the race provided plenty of action on the challenging Salford Quays circuit with Science in Sport's Ian Wilkinson riding clear for an impressive solo victory.

Kemp repeats in rainy day

By John Craven

Tour leader David Kemp (Virgin Blue Cycling) didn't mind the rain too much
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

The Tour of the Murray River is off to a rainy, but spectacular start. David Kemp has put his stamp on the race, winning the first two of 13 stages over the course of one week.

Kemp rounded off his most successful haul as a professional cyclist by winning the first two stages of the opening day of the Timbercorp Tour of the Murray River. Kemp, 24, thrashed his 85 rivals in the stage one river-front criterium in Echuca, then defeated Bendigo speedster Glenn O'Shea in a thrilling finish to the 113km stage from Moama to Barham.

"It doesn't get much better than this," Kemp exclaimed as he celebrated his second victory.

Both stages were raced in brutally-tough conditions with more than 30 riders crashing. The field was buffeted by swirling winds and heavy rain and the casualty list was high. Kemp, however, and his supportive Virgin Blue contingent thrived. He led team-mate, Tasmanian Bernard Sulzberger by 41 seconds on general classification after the first two stages, with Geelong's Leigh Howard a further nine seconds away in third place.

"If I play my cards right over the next seven days I have a chance to win but it is a hotly contested tour," he said. "It's great that the results are going my way because I have put a lot of preparation into trying to win this tour. There was no hiding in the bunch today. It was just getting there and have a real go. Actually, I didn't mind the rain and wind."

Kemp began his cycling career in Toowoomba and showed great promise as a youngster. He moved to Melbourne last year to gain more experience and lives the dream of one day riding the Tour de France.

West Australian Benjamin King also enjoyed a productive day. Following his 19th place in the criterium, the Budget Forklifts rider finished third in the Moama-Barham stage to be in fifth place overall – 63 seconds adrift of Kemp.

See full coverage of the Tour of the Murray River.

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