Latest Cycling News, June 12, 2009
Edited by Hedwig Kröner
Vuelta's 2009 teams announced
The organiser of the 2009 Vuelta a España, Unipublic, released the list of participating teams, including those being granted a wild card. Twenty-nine teams asked to be invited to the event starting on August 29 in Assen, Netherlands, but only 21 made the cut.
There are 16 ProTour teams and five Professional Continental teams taking part, all adhering to the International Cycling Union's (UCI) biological passport programme.
Katusha and Fuji-Servetto are the only two of 18 ProTour teams without invitation. The five Professional Continental teams invited are Andalucía Cajasur, Cervélo TestTeam, Contentpolis-Ampo, Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team and Xacobeo Galicia.
The selected teams represent ten countries: five Spanish teams, four French, two Italian, two US American, two Belgian, two Dutch, one Kazakh, one German, one Swiss and one Danish.
The 2009 Vuelta will be international with its first four stages taking place outside of Spain. The race will be starting in the Netherlands before moving to Belgium via Germany.
The full list of participating teams is AG2R La Mondiale, Andalucía Cajasur, Astana, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Caisse d´Epargne, Cervélo TestTeam, Cofidis, Contentpolis-Ampo, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Française Des Jeux, Garmin-Slipstream, Lampre-NGC, Liquigas, Quick-Step, Rabobank, Silence-Lotto, Columbia-Highroad, Milram, Saxo Bank, Vacansoleil and Xacobeo Galicia.
Contador still laying low
Alberto Contador continues his quiet build-up to the 2009 Tour de France at the Dauphiné Libéré, laying low even at yesterday's mountain top finish on the Mont Ventoux. The Astana rider refrained a chance at victory on the 'bald giant' and stayed on Australian Cadel Evans' wheel to finish eighth of the stage 2:13 down on the day's victor, Sylvester Szmyd of Liquigas.
"Since the start of the race, it was my intention to preserve myself," the Spanish 2007 Tour de France winner said. "I think about the Tour and don't want to punish myself here."
The fifth stage of the Dauphiné ended on the famous Mont Ventoux in Provence, a climb that will be the last decisive mountain top finish of the Tour come July.
"As usual the Mont Ventoux was very windy in the last kilometres," continued Contador. "The wind influenced the stage a lot - because of this the leader's group was together. Because those riders who tried to attack paid for their efforts in front.
Still, Contador remains in an opportunistic position on general classification, third at only 1:04 off the new race leader, Alejandro Valverde of Caisse d'Epargne. But this did not seem to motivate him.
"I will continue to try and not whip myself too much in this race," he said. "To do as well as possible, like today [yesterday], but without wasting more energy than necessary.
"I'm happy with this result, which was what I expected. In this race, I can allow myself to hold back a little. I didn't feel super, but it was what I hoped for: if I was at a hundred percent already, I might not actually make it to the finish when we climb this mountain again in five weeks time."
"Great ride" for Millar
Garmin-Slipstream's David Millar finished 11th on the Dauphiné's mountain top finish on Mont Ventoux yesterday, a performance which put the Scotsman in fourth position on general classification, 1.43 minutes off the current leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). After a very strong time trial already on Wednesday, where he finished third, Millar stepped up yet another overall placing and now has the final podium within his reach.
"A great job and a great ride for David Millar!" said Garmin's team director, Lionel Marie. "An intelligent race as always, following the good form he has. It is a big result for him and for the team on top of Mont Ventoux. It's great to see him smiling.
"Yesterday he was the fastest guy in second part of time trial and today the team was around him and Dan Martin all day, protecting them for the final climb."
On a hot and windy day in Provence, it was essential for the team to work together. "Steven Cozza was there for bottles. Svein Tuft like a body guard for the first 120 kilometres with Dave [Millar] - Christian Meier and Timmy Duggan with Dan [Martin]. A total team effort."
Martin could not follow the pace on the final climb and finished 37th. "He was not feeling well today, perhaps hypoglycemia [deficiency of sugar in the blood - ed.]."
Last Tour test in Switzerland
By Gregor Brown
The contenders for the Tour de France will face their last test prior to the Tour de France next week at the Tour de Suisse, June 13 to 21. The nine-day stage race opens and closes with time trials and includes three mountaintop finishes - a perfect gauge for July's Grand Tour.
Cycling's big names have made their mark in Suisse in the past: Hugo Koblet, Eddy Merckx, Andy Hampsten and Lance Armstrong. Last year's winner, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), will face the likes of Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream), Fränk and Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Andreas Klöden (Astana).
The Czech then moved on to finish second last year in the Tour de France's young rider competition and 12th overall. This year, his Liquigas team expects more from him at the Tour de France, so we could see an even sharper Kreuziger in Suisse.
The opening 7.8-kilometre time trial will decide the first yellow jersey, but will do little to decide the final classification thanks to the mountaintop finishes of Serfaus (stage five), Vallorbe Juraparc (seven) and Crans-Montana (eight). The other stages are hardly pleasing to the sprinters, with stages three and four featuring climbs around 2000 metres mid-stage.
Haussler back to winning ahead of Tour
By Gregor Brown
Heinrich Haussler is back at the top after a month and a half racing break with a win in GP Triberg last Saturday. The Cervélo TestTeam rider, runner-up in Milano-Sanremo and Ronde van Vlaanderen this spring, now aims for the Tour de France.
"I see myself going for the sprints and I could also see myself winning the green jersey. I know my form is good now, I know it is going to get better," Haussler told Cyclingnews.
Haussler should be one of the nine men in the Swiss team to race the Tour de France, July 4 to 26. He will race alongside defending champion Carlo Sastre and 2005 points classification (green jersey) winner, Thor Hushovd.
"Carlos could have the yellow jersey; you never know what situation the team will be in. It all depends on what the sport directors want me to do."
Cervélo's sports directors may decide to have their 25-year-old go for stage wins and the green jersey based on his season's results and current form. Haussler won twice in the spring, including a stage at Paris-Nice, and then had a string of top finishes in the Classics.
Haussler's racing break was well timed. He placed second in two stages of the Bayern Rundfahrt, second in Neuseen Classics, won Saturday's GP Triberg and took third in Sunday's GP Kanton Aargau - a month before the Tour de France.
"I had really good time off the bike. I had 12 days of complete stop during the holidays. When I came back I hit my left knee on the handlebars in my first training ride. It was swollen and I had to take another 10 days off. I was thinking, 'sh*t, I have had too much time off the bike,' but it worked out well.
"I know the people were thinking that I had a good spring and that is it, but I have already come back strong. That race I won on Saturday was a really hard race, tough conditions and lots of climbs."
Haussler has raced two editions of the Tour de France, 2007 and 2008. He finished 22nd in the points competition last year.
He has two more races prior to the Tour: Tour de Suisse, tomorrow through June 21, and he will help his two teammates at the German Championships, June 28.
Lang hopeful for Tour, Aerts out
Team Silence-Lotto is hopeful for the Tour de France despite the problems of Sebastian Lang and Mario Aerts. Lang jeopardised his participation with a hard crash during the Dauphiné Libéré's fifth stage on Thursday and Mario Aerts will miss the Tour this year due to illness.
Lang was not seriously injured, but doctors took him to the hospital.
"At first I thought he had a hip fracture from the crash, because he could not support his leg," Silence-Lotto directeur sportif Hendrik Redant told the belga news agency. "The clinic told me that the first examination showed no breaks, only heavy bruising. Hopefully, Lang will not have to miss the Tour now."
Aerts, 34, confirmed to Sporzathat he would have to miss his tenth Tour de France due to mononucleosis. The Belgian had to cancel his participation in the Dauphiné at the last minute due to the flu, from which he has now recovered.
Aerts said that he had not been well all season, and that it took a long time to make the diagnosis. "That is why I have kept on riding. I absolutely wanted to go to the Tour, but it doesn't make any sense.
"I now will concentrate on the autumn, the Vuelta and the World Championships." (SW)
Agritubel selects partial Tour roster
Professional Continental team Agritubel has confirmed the participation of three riders to the Tour de France, starting July 4 in Monaco. Christophe Moreau, winner of the 2001 prologue, will lead the French squad together with David Le Lay and Maxime Bouet.
The remaining six riders of the team's roster will be selected out of the following long list: Freddy Bichot, Sylvain Calzati, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Eduardo Gonzalo, Yann Huguet, Christophe Laurent, Geoffroy Lequatre, Anthony Ravard and Nicolas Vogondy.
Bobridge wins in Germany
Reigning Australian Under 23 road and time trial champion, Jack Bobridge, won the stage five time trial of the U23 International Thüringen Rundfahrt in Germany. The 19-year-old Team AIS rider mastered the wet and slippery 29.2km course from Oberhof to Wende in 26:20.
2008 World Championship silver medallist, Germany's Patrick Gretsch (Thüringer Energie Team), was 45 seconds off the pace of Bobridge for second place, with Austrian Matthias Brandl third at 49 seconds.
The stage result moved Bobridge to third overall, 1:24 off the time of current race leader Stefan Denifl (Austria), with Dutch rider Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) two seconds off the lead in second place.
Bobridge has also raced into the lead in both the points classification and the best young rider rankings. He has 69 points, 19 points clear of second-ranked Andreas Stauff (Team Kuota - Indeland) and in the battle for the white jersey is 56 seconds ahead of Brandl.
Three of Bobridge's Team AIS team mates also finished in the top 20 on stage five with Rohan Dennis seventh at 1:06, Leigh Howard 15th at 1:27 and Travis Meyer 18th at 1:34.
Howard, who won the first stage, is sitting four points off the lead in the sprinters classification.
The penultimate stage of the seven day tour on Friday will take the riders on a testing 133.8km course out and back from Neuhaus. The route includes two category one climbs in the last 40 kilometres of the stage.
Saturday's final stage over a 141.5km course out and back from Hildburghausen also features two category one climbs, but they come early in the stage giving teams an opportunity to chase down any breaks that escape on the climbs.
Cyclingnews podcast: Episode 15
Is Copenhagen now in Iceland?
With the Giro d'Italia now a fading pink memory, we turn to the Dauphiné Libéré and other matters in Episode 15 of the Cyclingnews podcast.
This week, Cyclingnews' Daniel Benson and BikeRadar's Jeff Jones only pull two or three punches as they discuss the first four stages of the Dauphiné, before moving into Columbia-Highroad's potential Tour de France team, then tackling Bernhard Kohl and his recent statements about doping and the UCI's bloody passport.
After a short break for tea, the pair turn to the subject of doping (again), namely the Play the Game conference in Coventry. This should not be confused with Copenhagen, which apparently is now in Iceland. They finish with a look at Christian Vande Velde's return to racing after his nasty crash in the Giro.
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