VeloNews.com » News http://velonews.competitor.com Competitive Cycling News, Race Results and Bike Reviews Thu, 18 Sep 2014 03:13:01 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Asian Games: Nepalese mountain biker mounts unlikely challenge http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/asian-games-nepalese-mountain-biker-mounts-unlikely-challenge_346417 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/asian-games-nepalese-mountain-biker-mounts-unlikely-challenge_346417#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:30:51 +0000 Paavan Mathema http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346417

Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian Games in October. Photo: AFP

Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian games in October

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Ajay Pandit Chhetri, 26, a bike mechanic from Nepal hopes to beat the odds when he toes the line at the Asian Games in October. Photo: AFP

KATHMANDU (AFP) — A short and skinny former bicycle mechanic from one of the world’s poorest countries is hoping to beat the odds and surprise Asia’s best mountain bikers at the Asian Games.

Nepal’s Ajay Pandit Chhetri, who is 5-foot-4 and weighs just 106 pounds, is a shopkeeper’s son who won his first race on a borrowed bike.

When he makes his Asian Games debut in the cross-country race on October 1, he’ll be riding a bike that costs far less than his competitors’ cutting-edge machines.

But in his favor is a life steeped in mountain biking after spending years since childhood riding Nepal’s remote Himalayan trails.

And in Incheon, South Korea, Chhetri believes he can make an impression by finishing in the top five.

“Even now, those racing against me in South Korea will have bikes costing double of mine,” Chhetri said. “It is like a fight between a khukri (a traditional Nepalese knife) and a gun.”

Chhetri has been Nepal’s national champion since 2009, quite a feat considering he couldn’t afford his own mountain bike when he won his first race at 15 years old.

At the time, even a low-end mountain bike costing about 20,000 rupees ($205) was out of his reach, until well-wishers pitched in to help him pay for it.

“It amuses me when people get surprised by my achievements,” he said. “I may be thin and short, but my hard work and preparation has brought me this far.”

Chhetri’s love of mountain biking comes from long before he dreamt of winning medals. As a young boy, he spent his free time riding around hills on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

“I was always good at sports, but cycling appealed to me because it is all about an individual’s effort. It is about what you can do,” he said.

His evolution as a competitive racer came almost by chance. Tired of going to a mechanic every time his bike broke, he joined a workshop to learn how to fix it himself.

Soon, his expertise as a mechanic brought him into contact with mountain bikers visiting Nepal, who opened his eyes to the possibilities and prompted him to enter his first race.

“When I was repairing … those powerful cycles, I used to dream about owning them. Now I know that dreams can come true,” he said.

Chhetri, 26, has spent the past four months training rigorously for the Asian Games, but he has continued to taste success along the way.

Last week he became the first foreigner to win the 268-kilometer (167 miles) Tour of the Dragon race in Bhutan, smashing the course record by more than 30 minutes.

Chhetri’s experience of Himalayan terrain helped him navigate the hilly course, including four treacherous mountain passes, three of which were over 10,000 feet.

He is no stranger to competing at altitude, having won Nepal’s annual 400-kilometer Yak Attack — dubbed the world’s highest mountain bike race — four times.

The race kicks off in Kathmandu, traverses the Annapurna mountain circuit at more than 17,500 feet and ends close to the Chinese border.

Although Nepal is “naturally blessed with a terrain perfect for mountain biking,” Chhetri said a lack of government support and insurance discourages riders from turning professional.

“Often we don’t take on challenging routes even if we want to because there is no insurance to fall back on. What will happen to me if I break my bones?”

Chhetri is traveling to Incheon with 197 other athletes who will represent Nepal in 24 sports, including athletics, martial arts, and wrestling.

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Thor Hushovd to retire Saturday http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/thor-hushovd-retire-saturday_346375 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/thor-hushovd-retire-saturday_346375#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:33:03 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346375

Thor Hushovd at Paris-Roubaix in 2014. He will retire after racing Saturday. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Thor Hushovd, a world champion and green-jersey winner, is retiring on Saturday

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Thor Hushovd at Paris-Roubaix in 2014. He will retire after racing Saturday. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Former road world champion and two-time green jersey winner Thor Hushovd will retire on Sunday, drawing the curtains on a distinguished racing career.

“The God of Thunder” won the worlds road title in 2010, was the first Norwegian to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France and has 10 individual stage wins to his credit at the Tour.

Hushovd will close his professional cycling career Saturday in Belgium at the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem, his BMC Racing Team announced Wednesday. It marks the second high-profile departure for BMC this week; on Monday it was reported that Cadel Evans would race the Tour Down Under in 2015, then retire shortly after.

And though Hushovd’s palmares is exhaustive, it lacks one of the races he so coveted, in Paris-Roubaix, where he finished in second in 2010 and third the year prior. Hushovd won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2009 and Gent-Wevelgem in 2006.

“It has been a real pleasure to have Thor be a part of the BMC Racing Team in the twilight of his career,” BMC Racing Team president/general manager Jim Ochowicz said in a team release. “We will not soon forget the impact he has had on the sport, especially in his home country of Norway.”

The stout 36-year-old turned professional in 2000 with Crédit Agricole, and later raced for the Cervélo Test Team, Garmin-Cervélo, and finally BMC.

Hushovd was, and still is, a rider of grit and broad skill in an era increasingly marked for its specialization. In 2011, he held the yellow jersey from stage 2 through 9.

Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday, will join Hushovd in his final race, along with Luke Davison, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Michael Schär, Dylan Teuns, and Rick Zabel.

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Q&A: Lea Davison’s long road to mountain bike worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/qa-lea-davisons-bumpy-road-worlds_346357 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/qa-lea-davisons-bumpy-road-worlds_346357#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:11:02 +0000 Maxwell Nagel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346357

Lea Davison claimed the bronze medal in the cross-country at 2014 world mountain bike championships in Norway. Photo: AFP PHOTO | NTB SCANPIX | GEIR OLSEN | NORWAY OUT

After undergoing hip surgery earlier in 2014, Lea Davison fought her way onto the podium at mountain bike world championships

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Lea Davison claimed the bronze medal in the cross-country at 2014 world mountain bike championships in Norway. Photo: AFP PHOTO | NTB SCANPIX | GEIR OLSEN | NORWAY OUT

If you asked Vermont native Lea Davison (Specialized), at the end of January, if she could imagine herself standing on the podium at the mountain bike world championships in September, she’d probably just have laughed. As one of the fastest cross country racers in the world, Davison, 31, has a long list of top results to her name, but her most successful win to date is her recovery from invasive hip surgery earlier this year.

With her 2014 season nearly a wash, Davison bounced back from injury with the support of her family, friends, doctors, and coaches before earning a bronze medal at mountain bike worlds in September.

Velonews caught up with Davison following worlds to recap her hectic year.

VeloNews: What was the extent of your hip injury?
Lea Davison: I started feeling pain in my hip at the beginning of January. My doctor thought it may be bursitis, so I went on a 10-day course of heavy anti-inflammatory medication. The pain didn’t clear up, so I got an MRI and they found a clear tear in the labrum on my right hip. I went in for surgery as soon as possible with Dr. Lighthart at Vermont Orthopedic Clinic in Rutland, Vermont on January 24.

VN: What was the recovery timeline given to you by doctors following surgery?
LD: We thought with an earlier surgery date, I could aim to race the end of the season. Dr. Lighthart said the joint should be healed four months out, so I worked with Bill Knowles, my strength coach and athletic trainer, on recovery and strength training. The doctors wanted me to be on crutches for four weeks, but with Knowles’ training plan, direction, and a ton of hard work, I was walking by two weeks out. The entire process was very aggressive and I had to work on gait training for five months. It doesn’t always come easy …

VN: What was your state of mind, knowing how daunting hip surgery can be?
LD: Well, I had the same surgery in April of 2010 and took the season completely off. My next season, 2011, was my best yet, and I made a huge jump in my career. So, unlike the first time around, I knew I could come back to racing strong eventually. The question was, could I come back to the same level of racing where I left off in 2013, halfway through the 2014 season? This was a complete unknown. So, I just put my head down and worked as hard as I could and kept my fingers crossed. But, when I was clicking around on crutches or working on walking correctly, it’s a bit of a mystery how exactly this could happen. My coach kept telling me, he wasn’t worried. Bill Knowles, and my cycling coach, Andy Bishop, had a plan and really believed that I could have some great results in the second half of the season.

I definitely had my doubts, but all I could do was my best. An experience like this really has a way of making me focus on the things in my control. It was so easy to focus on what everyone else was doing, all of the base miles my competitors were putting in, all of the races everyone did from March to July. But, I absolutely couldn’t. I couldn’t focus on results. My only focus was to do everything in my power to heal my hip, get back on the bike, and feel back to normal. Luckily, all of my sponsors, Specialized, Clif Bar, Oakley, and L.L. Bean stuck with me through this bumpy road. This support really makes a big positive impact in a time like this. Look what can happen when there’s a good support network around an athlete combined with hard work — so much is possible.

VN: What was the recovery like?
LD: In the beginning, for the first couple of months, I would literally spend all day working on recovery. I would wake up, do a strength and range of motion workout. Then, I drove to physical therapy and got manual work.  After that, I would drive to the pool and do strength and range of motion workout in the warmer pool where all the kids played. I would drive home and do my last workout of the day. It was harder and more involved than ‘normal’ training on the bike. My biggest threat during this initial phase of recovery was slipping while crutching around on the ice or slipping on the way to the pool. Luckily, I had ice picks on my crutches and my friend, Jojo, to give me a piggyback over all of the slippery surfaces and drop me into the pool. I spent some time spinning on the trainer, but it was very limited. I started at 10 minutes and worked my way up to two sessions of 20 minutes.

VN: What about getting back outside and on the bike?
LD: I went out to Santa Barbara for a USAC women’s mountain bike skills camp in early March and this was my first time riding outside. It was for 30 minutes, flat, easiest gear in the sunshine, and I was so happy. I was feeling great, pain was decreasing, and my hopes were growing. But, right at the two month post-surgery mark, I started to have pain and my range of motion decreased pretty significantly. So, this was a major setback. I went from thinking I was going to be fully on bike training in early April to having to take the whole week of Sea Otter off of everything to try to reduce pain. I really started training on the bike in earnest [1.5-2 hour ride with a climb] in late May.

VN: And racing, when did you feel ready to tie on a number again?
LD: I did my first mountain bike race back at the ProXCT in Missoula, Montana, and I was proud of my result. I still wasn’t anywhere near my form in 2013, and I would still have pain when I came back from a two-hour ride. Then, my coach had the brilliant idea of doing the seven-day mountain bike stage race, the BC Bike Race at the end of June. From that point on, my hip stopped hurting and I gained valuable fitness. It was like ripping off the band-aid and condensing my cycling base into seven days. At the BC Bike Race, the goal was just to ride, but I was so excited about racing again that I went for the win on the first stage and got the leaders jersey. Then, I was locked in a tight battle for the overall with Wendy Simms the whole week. I raced myself into the ground, but I ended up with the win by a mere one minute after 18 hours of racing. I raced myself into the ground and couldn’t really breathe. My diaphragm was completely cramped by the end because I hadn’t breathed that much in over a year. It was a gamble with the race ending two weeks before the national championships. Luckily, it paid off.

VN: What does it mean to podium and have your best-ever result at worlds with such a hard and hectic year?
LD: It means the world to me. When I came down that finish straight at the world championships with a bronze medal, it was like I had won that race. With all the hard work I put it to go from crutches in January to getting the best result of my career, it gives it even more meaning. It was literally like my wildest dream had come true. When I told Benno, the Specialized team manager, the news back in January that I would have to have hip surgery and miss the first half of the season. He said, “I don’t care about the World Cups or anything. Do whatever you need to do to be good at the world championships.” When he said that, I thought, “Well, that would be nice, but it’s also a bit crazy.” To be able to bring home a bronze, it’s almost unbelievable. I just keep looking that this medal and thinking, “Wow, this is actually mine. I did it.”

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Canada will send small but strong team to worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/canada-announces-small-strong-worlds-team_346335 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/canada-announces-small-strong-worlds-team_346335#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:38:16 +0000 Maxwell Nagel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346335

Svein Tuft will return to world championships to represent Canada, but he will only compete in the TT. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Cycling Canada releases roster for the world road championships

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Svein Tuft will return to world championships to represent Canada, but he will only compete in the TT. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Cycling Canada has announced their full roster for the upcoming road world championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Opting to not fill all of their available spots, the elected athletes were chosen based on criteria put forth by the Canadian federation.

Cycling Canada stated, “[We] only nominate athletes to the world championship team who have shown they can contribute to Canada’s performance objectives.”

Canada’s U23 racers were unable to secure enough UCI points to field a U23 men’s team, but they are planning on structuring the 2015 season to allow for more development opportunity to increase the talent pool, in hopes of securing a squad for future world championships.

Elite women

Joëlle Numainville (road race)
Karol-Ann Canuel (time trial and road race)
Leah Kirchmann (time trial and road race)

Elite men

Svein Tuft (time trial)
Christian Meier (road race)
Michael Woods (road race)
Ryan Anderson (road race)

Alternate: Guillaume Boivin (road race)

Junior women

Dafné Theroux-Izquierdo (time trial and road race)
Laurence Dumais (road race)
Emeliah Harvie (road race)
Sara Poidevin (road race)

Junior men

Pier-André Cote (time trial and road race)
Edward Walsh (road race)
Jean-Simon D’Anjou (road race)
Derek Gee (road race)

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Must read: Jens Voigt’s hour-record pacing, playlist, and more http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/must-read-jens-voigts-hour-record-pacing-playlist_346360 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/must-read-jens-voigts-hour-record-pacing-playlist_346360#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 19:38:04 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346360

Do you like 80s metal? Jens Voigt has his hour-record playlist all picked out

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With less than 24 hours to go until Jens Voigt’s hour-record attempt, the first high-profile attempt since the UCI changed the rules surrounding the record in May of this year, final preparations are now being made. Voigt’s sponsor Trek requested hour-record questions from its Twitter followers, spanning from his target power output to his race-day playlist. A few select questions and answers are reprinted below, with Trek’s permission. The full Q&A is available here.

Question: @Bike_ABK6: What average wattage will Jens target?
Answer: 370 watts average.

Q: @sufferfest: Can he see his wattage? Q: @JHLudlum: How about using an earpiece?
A: He cannot see live power data, per UCI-standard track-racing rules, but he can record it for later analysis. We’ve worked closely with SRM to keep his 55-tooth crank setup freshly calibrated so we can get a lot of information from this attempt. He cannot have an earpiece, but is allowed one person on the side of the track to give him verbal coaching.

Q: @BWSimons: What’s on Jens’ 60-minute playlist?
A: We asked him, and this is what he said:

Warmup:
• REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”
• Brian Adams “Summer of 69″
• Journey “Wheel in the Sky”
• Air Supply “Making Love out of Nothing at All“
• Metallica “Turn the Page”

Hour Record:
• Republica “Ready to Go”
• P.O.D. “Feel So Alive”
• Metallica “One”
• AC/DC “Hells Bells”
• AC/DC “Highway to Hell”
• Farmerboys “Here Comes the Pain”
• Ugly Kid Joe “Goddam Devil”
• AC/DC “Thunderstruck”
• Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
• Metallica “Frayed Ends of Sanity”
• Europe “Final Countdown”

Cooldown:
• Metallica “Nothing Else Matters”
• Cranberries “Zombie”
• Kansas “Dust in the Wind”
• Air Supply “All Out of Love”
• Lita Ford/ Ozzy Osbourne “Close My Eyes Forever”

Read more > >

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Anti-doping: Is the cure worse than the disease? http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/anti-doping-cure-worse-disease_346334 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/anti-doping-cure-worse-disease_346334#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:36:04 +0000 Paul Dimeo and and Verner Møller http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346334

Dimeo and Møller argue that the difference between Lance Armstrong and Bjarne Riis illustrates one of the problems with modern anti-doping efforts. While Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of all Tour titles, Riis, an admitted doper, is still listed in the records as a Tour winner. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Professors Paul Dimeo and and Verner Møller are skeptical of the current anti-doping system and its effect on cycling and sport

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Dimeo and Møller argue that the difference between Lance Armstrong and Bjarne Riis illustrates one of the problems with modern anti-doping efforts. While Armstrong is banned for life and stripped of all Tour titles, Riis, an admitted doper, is still listed in the records as a Tour winner. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Editor’s note: VeloNews contributor Steve Maxwell and his TheOuterLine.com partner Joe Harris sought out Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in Scotland and Verner Møller of Aarhus University in Denmark to pen an opinion piece about the state of anti-doping efforts in the sport of pro cycling. The following is an excerpt of their column.

A note from The Outer Line: Although most participants in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of pro cycling and the mainstream cycling press may not be too aware of it, there is actually an ongoing and robust discussion in academic circles regarding the effects of anti-doping regulations on elite sports. Indeed, there is a significant community of scholarly practitioners around the world who are actively researching and debating the longer-term effects of anti-doping programs, conducting regular global conferences on the topic, and writing interesting and provocative papers and books.

Two of the primary observers and critics of existing anti-doping approaches are Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in Scotland and Verner Møller of Aarhus University in Denmark. This duo has produced a number of recent papers essentially arguing that in the wake of the systematic doping scandals of the past, a sweeping anti-doping hysteria has created what economists refer to as “moral panic” — a perceived crisis which threatens the existing social order. Worried that these scandals could effectively destroy the sport, its leaders have often and impulsively addressed the doping problem in zealous, arbitrary and even irrational ways. Møller and Dimeo argue that differing objectives and an uncoordinated alliance between WADA, national anti-doping agencies, law enforcement authorities, sports organizers, and the media has led to an often confusing and disastrous situation — resulting in an array of unintended consequences, inconsistent and inequitable application of the rules, and a situation where anti-doping efforts may actually be doing more harm than good.

This perspective may seem improbable or dubious to some. And it is a somewhat politically perilous position to take in today’s environment of moral outrage about past doping practices; it is often much easier today for previously fawning fans or journalists to “pile on” to Lance Armstrong and his compatriots, than it is to step back and objectively look at the underlying situation and current approaches. But Møller and Dimeo’s thesis is interesting and worthy of closer examination. In their recent paper “Anti-Doping: The End of Sport” they review the era of the Festina and Puerto scandals, and make the argument that anti-doping approaches must be more rational, consistent and compatible in order to protect the competitive spirit of sports. The Outer Line has recently had an extended discussion with Professor Dimeo, and he has worked with Professor Møller to provide the following brief summary of their primary ideas and findings.

Many people within pro cycling are now saying that the war on drugs in cycling appears to be won; the conventional wisdom is increasingly that “things have turned the corner.” It appears that we’ve had a clean winner of the Tour de France for the last four consecutive years. There have been no major new drug busts or cheating scandals for several years. It no longer appears possible to dope with impunity, as so many riders did a decade ago. Today’s riders say that omerta is an anachronism, and that they don’t face the same no-win decisions that their elders did a decade or two ago. And all stakeholders within cycling are certainly eager to promote this new vision of a cleaner sport — to help attract new sponsors, larger audiences, and more television coverage.

One hopes that we have indeed turned the corner, and that the various international and national anti-doping organizations — WADA, USADA, UKAD, and so on — formed over the last two decades have finally begun to have a lasting impact on addressing this problem in cycling, as well as in other professional and Olympic sports. But we would argue that the agencies involved with anti-doping and the approaches employed to date to solve the problem are so overlapping and complex, so inconsistently utilized, and so inequitably applied that, in effect, the cure may be worse than the disease. We argue that anti-doping has gone too far and now poses more of a threat to the spirit of athletic competition than a solution.

We highlight a number of well-known examples in pro cycling to illustrate this argument:

- Although many might point to the USADA Reasoned Decision and the “Armstrong affair” as the death knell of the modern doping era, this case itself actually illustrates many of the problems with current anti-doping approaches. We are by no means Armstrong apologists, but we must question the inconsistencies of holding one person (or a few people) responsible for the sins of a whole generation, and more importantly, what this kind of witch hunt implies for the overall nature of competitive sports. Why have Armstrong’s Tour de France victories been revoked, while those of other well-known dopers’ victories remain intact? How far down the list of top finishers during the Armstrong years does one have to go to find a certifiably clean rider? It is well known by now that most of the runners-up during those years also had undeniable doping connections. Why has this punishment and sense of moral outrage not extended back to Anquetil, or to Merckx — who also tested positive for drugs three times in his career? We do not condone doping, but we believe that it basically spells the end of competitive sport if we insist on erasing victories when, at any point in the future, it may be found out that the winner was cheating. Cheating has always been part and parcel of sport, and we have to find a way to live with it and try to moderate it in order to maintain any competitive structure for elite sport at all.

- There are numerous situations where this tendency toward anti-doping hysteria has effectively overwhelmed the rules of the sport. Bad decisions have been made — based not upon logic or the regulations of the sport, but upon presumptions, concerns about public image, or perceived credibility issues. A prime example is the forced withdrawal of leading riders — including Basso and Ullrich — from the 2006 Tour de France. This decision was made on the basis of their suspected, but not proven, involvement with Operation Puerto. This deprived fans and sponsors of the best performing riders. Moreover, it undermined one of the essential features of sport — that top races should be a competition of the best talent.

- Another example of perception concerns outweighing the actual rules of the game is the case of Tom Boonen, excluded from the 2008 race due to an out-of-competition positive test for cocaine. This should not have led to a ban because — whatever one’s opinions about recreational drug use — cocaine is only banned within the competition timeframe. These decisions were taken based upon public perception and image concerns — not the rules of the sport.

- Indeed, it often seems that pro cycling is transforming from a sports competition into a credibility contest. Consider the expulsion of Michael Rasmussen from the 2007 Tour. His dismissal, as well as the exclusions in 2006, was not conducted in the spirit of fairness, and none of these riders, at the time of the event, had actually been caught breaking any rules. Suspicion was apparently preferred to proof by the anti-doping agencies and race organizers, who too often seem willing to bend the rules on a whim.

- Another example where cycling authorities followed their preferences rather than the rulebook was the 2010 case of Alberto Contador’s positive clenbuterol test. This may also be a case where the capabilities of rapidly advancing analytical technology got ahead of both the rules of the sport and general logic. The level of clenbuterol found in Contador’s blood was 400 times less than the published WADA minimum standards. Nonetheless, his victory was revoked, and perhaps worse, it took two years just for a decision to be made. Contador’s disqualification made Andy Schleck the winner — and Schleck’s reaction is illustrative of the fundamental threat that the current approach portends. “I battled with Contador in that race, and I lost,” he said. “My goal is to win the Tour de France in a sportive way, being the best of all competitors, not in court.”

We cite these examples because they controvert the important sporting dimensions of tradition and progression. We should be able to refer to the record books to see who has won, and we should be able to check the improvement in performance times. We need, fundamentally, to know for certain that the athlete who wins a race is actually indeed the winner of that race. Yet, the decision to identify certain known dopers and rewrite the history books undermines these dimensions of sport. The consequence is a lack of certainty as to who won anything. The fact that the 1999-2005 Tour de France titles have not been reallocated is a farce. However, any detailed analysis of the top ten finishers in each of those years would show how hard it would be to find a definitively clean rider to award the title to — so reassigning the victories would also be a farce. This simply demonstrates how detrimental current anti-doping practices have been to the Tour de France, and it is further underlined by the blatant inconsistencies in the administration of the winners list. Bjarne Riis is still the 1996 winner, despite admitting to doping, but the UCI apparently thinks this goes back too far in time. Armstrong’s 1999 victory has been eradicated but Marco Pantani has kept the 1998 title, won partly because of the Festina scandal, even though he too was a known doper. There are numerous other and well-known examples of this sort of directionless administration of the rules.

Read the complete opinion piece on The Outer Line >>

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Froome leads British assault on Ponferrada http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/froome-leads-british-assault-ponferrada_346323 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/froome-leads-british-assault-ponferrada_346323#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:41:59 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346323

Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins will share the spotlight on Great Britain's worlds team, but they will compete in separate events. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Great Britain brings a squad that relies heavily on talent from team Sky to contest worlds in Spain

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Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins will share the spotlight on Great Britain's worlds team, but they will compete in separate events. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

LONDON (AFP) — Former Tour de France champions Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) were named to the Great Britain team for the world road championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

But while Froome, who recently came second in the Vuelta a España behind Alberto Contador, will spearhead a nine-man team in the men’s road race, Wiggins will only feature in the time trial.

Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, is joined on the road race squad by Geraint Thomas (Sky), Pete Kennaugh (Sky), and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), who is due to retire at the end of the season.

British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton said, “I’m pleased with the teams we’ve selected for the UCI road world championships. Across the board, we have some real podium contenders.

“For the men’s road race, Chris proved he’s in good shape by coming second at the Vuelta and I’m pleased David Millar will be leading the team in his last outing in Great Britain kit.”

The lineup for the men’s road race in Ponferrada on September 28, the final day of the competition, is completed by Steve Cummings (BMC), Luke Rowe (Sky), Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), and Ben Swift (Sky).

Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in 2012 before claiming the time trial gold medal at the London Olympics, will compete in the September 24 race against the clock, alongside Alex Dowsett.

Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) leads the six-strong women’s squad, which also includes two-time junior world champion Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano) but does not feature a competitor for the time trial.

Great Britain team for the road world championships in Ponferrada, Spain

Men’s elite road race: Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Pete Kennaugh, David Millar, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Simon Yates

Men’s elite time trial: Alex Dowsett, Bradley Wiggins

Women’s elite road race: Lizzie Armitstead, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Anna Christian, Lucy Garner, Annie Last

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Greg Van Avermaet storms Citadelle, wins GP Wallonie http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/greg-van-avermaet-storms-citadelle-wins-gp-wallonie_346317 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/greg-van-avermaet-storms-citadelle-wins-gp-wallonie_346317#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:11:42 +0000 Spencer Powlison http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346317 The Belgian puncheur claims a win in Wallonia, showing his form ahead of world championships

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BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet won the Grand Prix de Wallonie, riding out of a select breakaway group and winning the final sprint with the peloton breathing down his neck.

“It’s a beautiful place; it’s one of the most beautiful places in Wallonia,” said Van Avermaet. It’s a very hard race, especially toward the end where it comes to the Citadelle. I just wanted to deliver [for my team].”

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Belisol), Van Avermaet, and defending champion Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) were out front with three kilometers left.

The lead group of four hit the base of the final climb, the Citadelle de Namur, and Bakelants attacked.

Vanendert gave chase and welded the group back together, bringing along Van Avermaet. Schleck was tacked onto the back of the group.

The chasing peloton was close behind in the final sinuous kilometers of the climb to the castle, with Tinkoff-Saxo driving the pace.

With 1.7km left, Bakelants went again, and Van Avermaet again closed the gap.

Vanendert countered with 1.4km left, as the peloton appeared to make the catch, but the Lotto-Belisol rider’s effort stretched the gap again.

With one kilometer left, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) leapt from the field to make an attack of his own.

However, Van Avermaet was ready, countering the move, and leading out sprint. None of the other contenders could overtake the Belgian in the final sinuous meters of racing, and he rolled across the line victorious.

“I was pretty strong and I was confident to keep it all together for my sprint because I felt I was fastest of the group,” Van Avermaet said. “But with the attacks, it always slowed down again and the peloton was coming back. So it was a little bit tricky.”

Gallopin finished second, and Bakelants was third.

“I recovered perfectly toward the end,” said the winner. “We had a good atmosphere with the [breakaway] quartet. It worked out very well for me.”

Looking ahead to world championships in Spain, Van Avermaet said, ” [It is] good timing of course, I was ready in North America, that was good for my confidence and so is this ahead of the world championships.”

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Valverde spearheads Spain’s world championships squad http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/valverde-spearheads-spains-world-championships-squad_346314 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/valverde-spearheads-spains-world-championships-squad_346314#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:47:26 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346314

After dueling at the Vuelta, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will team up to ride for Spain at world championships. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Spanish team endeavors to win worlds title in front of home crowd in Ponferrada

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After dueling at the Vuelta, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will team up to ride for Spain at world championships. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MADRID (AFP) — Fresh off finishing third at the Vuelta a España, Alejandro Valverde will lead Spain’s quest for glory on home soil at the world road championships in Ponferrada.

The 34-year-old, who penned a new three-year deal with Movistar on Tuesday, will line up alongside Katusha’s Joaquim Rodríguez, who finished fourth in the Vuelta, for the road race on September 28.

Spanish coach Javier Minguez has also selected Jonathan Castroviejo, Imanol Erviti, Ion Izagirre, Jesús Herrada, Dani Moreno, Luis León Sánchez, and Dani Navarro for the 254.8km road race, which encompasses 14 laps of a hilly 18.2km course.

Castroviejo and Markel Irizar have been selected for the 47.1km individual time trial on September 24.

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Italy’s worlds team: Pozzato and Nibali to star http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/italys-worlds-team-pozzato-nibali-star_346309 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/italys-worlds-team-pozzato-nibali-star_346309#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:25:19 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346309

If world championships shapes up to be a race of attacks and counter-attacks, Vincenzo Nibali will be poised to lead the Italian team. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

Team director Cassani has a variety of options, but he'll likely tap familiar riders to lead Italy in Ponferrada

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If world championships shapes up to be a race of attacks and counter-attacks, Vincenzo Nibali will be poised to lead the Italian team. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Italy’s world championships team is taking shape this week at a trio of one-day races, including Wednesday’s Coppa Agostoni. Head director Davide Cassani is guiding a national team and following the races daily to have a close inspection of his possible riders, 11 of whom he will name Thursday.

“Vincenzo Nibali was very good and showed good condition after a long stop. He showed that he is ready and convinced [of] his chances,” Cassani told Tutto Bici website. “Filippo Pozzato gave an important signal and took a strong second place behind Elia Viviani.”

Viviani won yesterday’s Coppa Bernocchi with the help of Cannondale teammate and worlds favorite Peter Sagan. The Italian is rumored to be joining team Sky in 2015, but he will not join the national team for the worlds in Ponferrada, Spain, September 28, because he failed to show strongly earlier in the year with no wins in the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France.

Cassani will also be unable to rely on Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who has faded since winning a Tour de France stage in Nancy this July. Instead, Pozzato and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) could lead Italy in the case of a possible, and likely, sprint into Ponferrada.

This year’s 254.8 kilometer course features 14 18.2-kilometer circuits, each with two small climbs and a five-kilometer descent to the finish line.

Pozzato has had a difficult season and after missing the Tour de France, said that he considered retiring. With second place yesterday, and a good Eneco Tour earlier this August, he appears to be on track for the Italian team. He looks skinnier than ever and hungrier than ever.

“Cassani was clear with what he wanted, a signal,” Pozzato said. “I’m good and I’ll give my best if I race the worlds.”

If the worlds turns into one of attacks and counter-attacks, which Italy wants, then Cassani said that he would support Nibali and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar). Nibali placed second in 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and third in Milano-Sanremo. He showed yesterday that he is capable, despite a 50-day stop since winning the Tour de France.

“I wanted to try something,” Nibali said, who attacked with four kilometers remaining Tuesday. “I’ll try again in Tre Valli, which suits me better.”

“Nibali impressed me,” Cassani added. “I’ll wait for more from both him and Pozzato in Tre Valli, the most important race of these three and the one that’s nearest to the worlds on September 28.”

Nibali, Visconti, Pozzato, Nizzolo … Cassani must still come up with five other cyclists to wear the blue national jersey. Out of the 16 he named already, he will decide Thursday which 11 will receive airplane tickets to Spain. The final nine will be decided in Ponferrada in the days before the race.

Davide Formolo (Cannondale) is racing only in his first year, but in Canada he was the first to respond to Gerrans’ attacks. Cassani could take the 21-year-old to support Nibali and Visconti’s attacking plan — and to learn. Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Alessandro Vanotti (Astana), and Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing) could race as the Squadra Azzurra’s workhorses, and Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) could captain the team in Spain, where, unlike WorldTour races, the UCI does not allow two-way radios.

Cassani, however, will confirm his roster Thursday.

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Video: The road to Mont Blanc http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/road/video-road-mont-blanc_346255 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/road/video-road-mont-blanc_346255#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:39:30 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346255

The Road to Mont Blanc, one riders journey across 1,000 kilometers of European roads.

One rider tackles 1,000 kilometers of riding over 21 mountain passes, 69,718 feet of climbing over 53 hours

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The Road to Mont Blanc, one riders journey across 1,000 kilometers of European roads.

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Launch Pad: USA Cycling’s Development House offers coaching, mentoring, and tough love http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/launch-pad-usa-cyclings-development-house-offers-coaching-mentoring-tough-love_346246 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/launch-pad-usa-cyclings-development-house-offers-coaching-mentoring-tough-love_346246#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:50:32 +0000 Matthew Beaudin http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346246

For many young Americans, USA Cycling's Development House is the best way to gain the experience needed to compete at events like world championships. From there, those with enough potential may go on to professional careers in the sport. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Matthew Beaudin pays a visit to the development program that helps young Americans learn the sport in Europe

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For many young Americans, USA Cycling's Development House is the best way to gain the experience needed to compete at events like world championships. From there, those with enough potential may go on to professional careers in the sport. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the July 2014 issue of Velo magazine.

Kathryn Donovan holds her arm up, gashed and sprouting stitches. Her teammate, Lauren Komanski, dives in with a pair of scissors.

It’s time for the threads to come out, and Komanski, who’s just graduated from veterinary school, is happy to oblige.

The two take a picture of the moment in the makeshift clinic in an old restaurant, located in a Cold War-era dormitory on the outskirts of Sittard, the Netherlands. The moment distills the rough-and-tumble racing scene here, and the bonds formed in the forge of racing abroad. There are crashes aplenty, but there’s someone here to help, too.

Neilson Powless stares at the boring white bowl on the generic tablecloth in an unremarkable dining room hall.

“How is it? Is it warm?” he asks a teammate, full of longing. Powless is, and has been, pondering a piece of apple pie. Now the skinniest kid at the table is asking questions about it. “Just go have one,” Jonathan Brown, a bigger, more gregarious teammate, tells him. “You’ve been talking about it for 30 minutes.”

Powless, the final holdout, finds the gumption to get up and eat a piece of pie. The 17- and 18-year- olds talk all the while … about girls back home going to prom with other guys.

USA Cycling’s development house is equal parts racing headquarters and dormitory for wayfaring American racers. The program and house consist mostly of young men, though some older professional women trickle in and out of the facility’s doors.

The most current iteration is located in Sittard, a much-contested city that dates back to 850 A.D. The development housing is a Spartan outpost that, while comfortable enough for bike racers, is a stark reminder that kids come here to race their bikes and to think about racing their bikes. A new, state-of-the-art facility is in the works, and there’s a gleaming new service course, but for now the low-slung brick buildings serve as the lodging.

Signs proclaim “NO ALCOHOL,” and dry erase boards provide crusty reminders to clean up after one’s self, be on time, be accountable. At the upper reaches, the under-23 racing level, it’s all business. But with the 17- and 18-year-olds, there’s a fair amount of oversight and
tough love from coaches, and the cultural disconnect here can fluster teenagers easily.

This is growing up, but it’s doing so in the hearth of European bike racing, far from home, and far from the normal social thoroughfares wide enough for teenagers to get comfortably lost.

“They get very frustrated about the lack of language. And because they’re an insecure 17-year-old, which we all were, they think that they’re always being talked about,” said Billy Innes, the junior program director. “And so I tell them that you’ll be yelled at, you’ll be shoved, you’re going to be called a dumb ‘Americaner,’ but you have to race your bike. That’s the hardest thing.”

This facility exists because Europe is the nerve center of bike racing at professional and developmental levels; in order to learn how to race as an elite, American kids need to be here, guttered, in the rain. They need to figure out how to eat, shop, and exist off their bikes, too. If they pay attention, they may be one of the 20-plus riders that go from here — the laps at a no-name kermesse in the rain — to the WorldTour. USA Cycling started its National Development Program in 1999, and some 3,000 athletes have passed through it.

“In the late ’90s, [2000s], you had four or five or six riders. It was very elite … it wasn’t clear on how you raced in Europe. You seemed to know somebody when you got there, and you had a chance to prove yourself, and you did or you didn’t,” said USA Cycling’s vice president
of athletics, Jim Miller. “We learned a long time ago that it really comes down to consistently being exposed to the stimuli of European racing. It’s just not the skill set. It’s just not the moving in the peloton. It’s not just reading tactics. It’s not just the movement of the road. It’s all of it. It’s living off the bike. How do you make a network here, where you feel comfortable?”

The numbers game

The path here isn’t easy, as spots in the country’s premier youth racing program are hard to come by. The parents of a talented 15-year-old kid can’t outright buy his or her way here. And if that sounds harsh, it’s because it is: this is about performance and, even at a young age, it’s easy to see if a rider’s got it or not.

“They fight for it, for sure,” Miller said, one grey morning in Sittard — one of many, as there are lots of grey mornings in northern Europe.

USAC rounds up regional coaches in the U.S. and puts on talent identification camps, intended to sort the physiological cream from the crop. Coaches determine on-the-road power based on field tests of five and 20 minutes. USAC then files the information away in a database, where all the numbers from the past tests in the last eight years are stored. At any time, USAC officials can tap into that river of numbers and go fishing for America’s next contender 10 years out. “We’ll see who this kid is, if he does a result, ‘Who’s that kid? What’s his name?’” Miller said.

In the Netherlands, they have many names. Names you don’t know yet, but names you might, if things go to plan.

Race programs start with the 15-16 age group, which is, as Miller notes, “much more lovey-feely, get your feet wet in Europe, have a good time, learn how to find food … and have a good time racing the bike.” All told, about 30 riders come over for trips throughout the season.

The next level up, 17-18, is much more competitive, and of those initial 30, 18 make it back for another round. This spring, in just one race, nearly every American was dropped from the front group, one ended up in a ditch, and others were so shelled they fell asleep in a team van five minutes after easing in. Just making it to the USAC house is the easy part; succeeding is something different altogether.

From that pool of 18, only about 10 will make the big jump, to the U23 teams. Maybe two will sign European pro contracts after that. USAC will make exceptions for talented individuals who have a bad showing or come from off the radar, but it’s very much a program that seeks to turn saplings into sequoias. For every Tejay van Garderen or Taylor Phinney that the program helps move along, there are a hundred names that no one hears again. That’s just the way it is.

Dollars and cents

Growing talent from the ground up comes at a price. The meals, the cars, the bikes, the massage — it all costs money. USA Cycling spends $1 million a year on its development program, which also includes some of the races that American pro women compete in. In sum, all of the moving parts add up to 450 race days across a smattering of age brackets and two genders, and about 4,000 total days under the wing of the program. USA Cycling’s Development Foundation, the governing body’s main fundraising arm, provides much of the cash, but Miller said the United States Olympic Committee has become a “better and better” partner over the years.

Sometimes athletes or their families incur some cost to ensure the proper buy-in. For a 15- to 16-year-old rider’s first trip, USA Cycling charges a fee of around $1,650, which includes airfare and a portion of lodging. Seventeen to 18-year-old riders pay airfare on a first trip; if invited back, riders don’t pay anything. In the event a family can’t afford the steep entry fee to European racing, there are grants and financial assistance available. It’s a necessary fee, Miller said.

“You get kids who would be like, ‘Wow, I got invited to the national team. I’m going to Europe. I’m going to race bikes. They get the romantic idea — Europe, riding on cobblestones, sitting in coffee shops. It’s a great time. They forget they’re here to race bikes, that they had to train to get here,” he said. “So when they have to pay $1,200 bucks out of their own pockets, their parents are paying attention to it. If you’re a U23 kid and you’re in college and you don’t have $1,200 bucks, you’re not wasting money. You’re going to get everything out of it.”

Race day

Billy Innes is driving and talking fast and watching his speed carefully, lest he offend one of the myriad speed cameras positioned on the etch-a-sketch roads connecting the little towns of Belgium and The Netherlands.

He speaks in the thoughtful, stop-start cadence of a sport director; the moments of clarity and expression are few and far between, with bottle passes, random questions from kids, and driving at high rates of speed in a bike race mixed together. It always feels exponentially more dangerous to ride in a car in the bike race than to be anywhere else in a bike race.

Innes, a fine artist by trade, is as cerebral as a director of adolescents can be, with any practicality. He’s a measured coach, mentor, and disciplinarian. One of his riders makes a joke about his longish hair at dinner, which he hears two tables over. Innes hears everything.

“I see everything,” he said, aloud, then scolds some of the younger riders for riding to the town square on cruisers without helmets.

“My dad was a teacher for 30 years, so I reference him quite a bit,” Innes said. “But to teach a kid how to say please and thank you? I’m amazed that I have to do that. But that’s fine. It doesn’t irk me. It’s an easy thing, and I tell the kids that. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ and a smile will get you so far in life. … I think sometimes they do [listen]. Most of the time they do.”

Today, they’re listening. And watching. The juniors sit in folding chairs in a dirt parking lot on a hot day and marvel at their Belgian counterparts, fully kitted in legwarmers and jackets. It’s hotter, much hotter, this spring than the last in Belgium. One of the boys quantifies this, saying, “It was so cold last year I put embro on my chamois.” He seems serious.

The staging area at Ster van Zuid Limburg, a three-day race, is a run-down soccer facility. Race officials have slighted the Americans — what Innes and his Belgian mechanic Peter say is a regular occurrence — by giving them a car number too far back in the convoy, so Innes works to clear that up before a quick meeting with the team. Officials admit to making a mistake.

“Yeah, but they always make a mistake,” Peter said. “And I know them and they know me.” There isn’t an outright disdain for these Yankee interlopers, but there is always something, a bumped shoulder, an incorrect caravan number.

“There’s some guys who are really cool with us. But I think a majority of guys in the peloton, they don’t really like us too much. So they try to do whatever they can to make it a little harder on us. But that’s just kind of what you’re going to get. It makes us stronger,” said Powless, a junior mountain biker now taking his road licks. “The pace of the race is the biggest difference — really, really explosive. They brake really hard going into turns and just explode out of the turns as hard as they can. It definitely does a number on you.”

On this day, “it” does a number on nearly everyone, Powless included. With about an hour left to race, Florida’s Jake Silverberg finds himself careening into a ditch after assorted team cars slow down rapidly. The rider next to him goes through the rear window of a team car. Silverberg frantically remounts his bike and tries to chase back; remember, these kids are riding smaller, junior gearing, but he isn’t able to factor into the sharp end of the race. Apparently, bike racers aren’t born knowing just how sticky a bottle, or three, can be.

The rain rolls in and buckets down on the elastic, youthful peloton in spurts. Half of the group is intact, split by the steep climbs and crashes. Puberty comes at different times, and there are some men among boys, but that’s never really an indicator of what will pan out later. Gavin Hoover finishes as the highest-placed American overall, in 17th.

Success every day here isn’t, and can’t be, the endgame. Both Miller and Innes address the contrast between winning now, and winning later, differently, but ultimately hope for the same thing: longevity and maturation.

“We have a saying within our coaching staff. Just focus on the process and the results take care of themselves,” Miller said. “It’s really simple. Everybody’s like ‘Uh huh, Uh huh.’ But it holds a lot of water. When you do everything right and you teach a kid how to race a bike, and you teach him all the little intricacies, and you teach him how to train, and you teach him how to eat, and you teach him how to take care of his body — if he has the talent, he’s eventually going to win. It’s just how it is.”

Innes, more of the boots-on-the ground type, hopes his racers win, obviously, but will call coaches in the U.S. at lower-level teams to explain why a rider didn’t get a top result if, say, they punctured or spent a day pulling in the wind. He wants his guys to have places to race when they head home.

“I have to straddle the results line and the development line. But that being said, more often than not, the cream rises to the top. If we win all the races this year, great. That makes me look really good, but my first question is, ‘What did you learn? What did you learn as you won?’ If you have a kid that just rides away from every single race, he’s learning how to time trial,” Innes said. “He’s not learning how to ride on a two-meter wide road with cobblestones on it.”

When the race is over, the boys wipe the mud from their faces and climb into the van. One does homework. The rest banter, and nap.

“We get accused, I think, of burning kids out. I think that people don’t realize that not everybody makes it to the major leagues. You have 30,000 kids playing little league everyday, and no one talks about burnout there,” Crane said. “But for some reason, cycling is this target for people telling us we’re burning out our athletes. Listen, some kids make it, some kids don’t. That’s life. And I tell the kids that. Listen, not everybody gets a medal. That’s just the way it is.”

Different paths

Under the roof in Sittard there are all kinds of kids, women, racers. There is no one method to contextualize them. There are hungry 17-year- olds, and 22-year-olds reaching for the professional peloton. There are 20 Jake Silverbergs, who want to race here as much as possible and never look back, the kind who don’t think they’re missing anything by being here, drinking coffee in the square, skipping class.

“It’s an opportunity. It’s freaking awesome. It’s fun,” Silverberg said. “I’d rather be racing here than going to school and waiting to race. This place is the best place to become adjusted. It doesn’t get any better than this. It could be a little bit of pressure. But there’s a lot more … no one else can get these opportunities. I’m not feeling the pressure, just feeling motivation to do something with these opportunities.”

This narrative is common, more so than that of professional Lauren Komanski, 29, who was staying in Sittard and racing some of the larger women’s races for the first time, like La Flèche Wallonne Femmes. Her story is equally important. The 29-year-old is also a newly minted veterinarian who just recently started bike racing. She’s married, and already has an entire life outside the sport. She also has an engine, honed from her four years of running at Columbia University. She won the first bike race she entered, in 2012.

“So I got bit by the bug, big-time,” Komanski (Twenty16) said. “Loved every second of it, and sort of had that moment, kind of, ‘Oh, this is what’s been missing.’ I’ve been an athlete my whole life … it’s definitely part of who I am,” she said.

In order to make time amid her 16-hour shifts, Komanski did all her workouts at 4 a.m. on a trainer. A talent identification camp told her she was, in fact, talented. Komanski said she’d either take a pro contract or hang her bike up. Her immediate future as a vet was too valuable to compromise otherwise.

“I guess I have a good poker face,” she said. “I got my first contract with NOW [Novartis for MS] after a couple months of racing a bike.”

And now, she’s here, the next box she wanted to check. “I feel the best, or the hardest, racing is in Europe. If you want to find out the best racer you can be, you need to come over here,” she said. “That’s my personal decision at least. The peloton is closer together, it’s faster. The conditions are going to be harder. It’s going to push you to see where your limit is. For me, that’s the style of racing I want. I want to see the best racer I can become. I wasn’t real interested in just staying around home and winning local things.”

Like the boys, she dreams big, though her fallback plan as a vet is more formidable than most. She hopes to race the UCI world road championships this fall, in Spain.

“That would be a bit ambitious. But it’s worth going for,” she said.

“That’s the nice thing about all this. If something happens, plan B is really a plan A. I have two plan As. They’re both my dreams. It’s just that I have the rest of my life to practice veterinary medicine. This is not quite as long term. The opportunity is here right now, and it’s not going to be there forever.”

Opportunity is the common thread stitching the development house together. It’s in the piles of dirty bottles in the sink, and can be heard in the click-clack chorus of a team headed out for a ride. Sometimes it sounds like bikes hitting the deck, and other times a room full of applause for a racer who’s just come into the dining room.

But as both 17- and 29-year-olds know, that opportunity won’t wait around forever.

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Alejandro Valverde extends deal with Movistar http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/alejandro-valverde-extends-deal-movistar_346236 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/alejandro-valverde-extends-deal-movistar_346236#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:08:38 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346236

Alejandro Valverde announced Tuesday that he will extend his contract with Movistar for another three years. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Movistar extends contract with Valverde for three more years, indicating its faith in the 34-year-old's long-term prospects

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Alejandro Valverde announced Tuesday that he will extend his contract with Movistar for another three years. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

MADRID (AFP) — Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde has celebrated his third place finish in the Vuelta a España by signing a new three-year deal with Movistar on Tuesday.

“I am very happy. It is what both parties wanted,” he said in a statement released by the team.

There had been some doubt over Valverde’s future at Movistar as his position as the team’s lead rider has been rivaled by Colombian Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana.

Indeed, prior to Quintana’s retirement from the Vuelta due to two heavy crashes, team officials had refused to confirm who has their main man.

However, Valverde insisted he had no thoughts of breaking his nine-year association with Movistar team manager Eusebio Unzue

“In the end this is my family and we understand each other. I feel better than when I was 25. The seasons seem shorter every year and I handle things better,” said Valverde.

“Maturity brings calm and allows you to see everything differently.”

And Unzue is confident Valverde still has plenty to offer at the age of 34.

“He is an irreplaceable cyclist,” the Movistar manager said. “There is no one capable of maintaining the concentration and willingness to win during the whole year [like Valverde].

“Although he has spent many years in the elite, the reality is he looks like he is in his 20s. He is a super rider.”

Former Tour de France winners Alberto Contador and Chris Froome proved too strong for Valverde, winner of the Vuelta in 2009, this year.

However, in the absence of Contador, Valverde will lead Spain’s quest for victory on home soil at the world championships in Ponferrada later this month.

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Cascade Cycling Classic loses title sponsor http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/title-sponsor-drops-cascade-cycling-classic_346157 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/title-sponsor-drops-cascade-cycling-classic_346157#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 18:53:18 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346157

The Cascade Cycling Classic is the longest-running road race in the U.S., but it is in need of a new title sponsor to continue the tradition. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

America's longest-running road race may cease to exist if it cannot find a new title sponsor

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The Cascade Cycling Classic is the longest-running road race in the U.S., but it is in need of a new title sponsor to continue the tradition. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

America’s longest-running road race has recently been put in jeopardy after its title sponsor, Bend Memorial Clinic (BMC), publicly dropped its funding Thursday.

For nine years now, BMC provided financial support to the multi-day Oregon stage race, which takes place in mid-July. The 2014 event was held June 14-20, and was won by Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly), and Kristin McGrath (Exergy)

Race organizers have until October 15 to find a title sponsor in order to bring the race back next year.

“We are working with a couple companies who have interest, so I’m hopeful that we’ll find somebody in the next 30 days.” said Molly Kogswell-Kelly, the financial director of Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, the race’s organizers.

The race features NRC categories for men and women as well as a variety of USA Cycling fields. Past winners of the Cascade Cycling Classic include Francisco Mancebo, Rory Sutherland, Oscar Sevilla, Mike Creed, Lance Armstrong, Alexi Grewal, and Dale Stetina.

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Uran left off of Omega Pharma-Quick Step worlds TTT squad http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/uran-left-omega-pharma-quick-step-worlds-ttt-squad_346133 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/uran-left-omega-pharma-quick-step-worlds-ttt-squad_346133#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:45:46 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346133

Rigoberto Uran is still suffering from bronchitis, which he contracted at the Vuelta. He is expected to contest the world road race championships on September 28. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Two-time defending TTT champions are still confident that their squad has a chance at a three-peat in Ponferrada

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Rigoberto Uran is still suffering from bronchitis, which he contracted at the Vuelta. He is expected to contest the world road race championships on September 28. Photo: BrakeThrough Media | brakethroughmedia.com

Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team has finalized its six-rider team for the world team time trial championships, which takes place Sunday.

The two-time defending champions will not bring Rigoberto Uran to Spain to race.

The Colombian has asthmatic bronchitis. This was confirmed by a few examinations performed in Belgium with team medical staff. He will follow therapy for the next five days and be ready for the world road championships on September 28.

“We will fly to Ponferrada on Wednesday,” sport director Tom Steels said. “The parcours looks more difficult than the one of last year, more technical for sure. But fortunately we will fly there Wednesday, so we will have three days to get into the rhythm of the race, to study details, and prepare as best we can.

“The team is strong. We believe this team can repeat the success of the first two attempts. All the guys showed they are in good condition for the race where they each competed in the last week. We have Tony Martin, who is the core as three-time world TT champion. Then we have Niki Terpstra, who is a guarantee to perform in this effort as he was on the world championship team the last two years. Then we have Michal Kwiatkowski, who was a part of the team last year and showed his strength at Tour of Britain a few days ago. Tom Boonen is also there. He can’t wait to be a part of the team again after the experience the 2012 gold medal in Valkenburg.”

Omega Pharma-Quick Step men’s TTT team:

Tony Martin
Niki Terpstra
Michal Kwiatkowski
Tom Boonen
Pieter Serry
Julien Vermote

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Degenkolb in Frankfurt hospital with lymphatic infection http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/degenkolb-frankfurt-hospital-lymphatic-infection_346132 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/degenkolb-frankfurt-hospital-lymphatic-infection_346132#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:35:46 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346132

A favorite for the world championship, John Degenkolb is now in a Frankfurt hospital, battling a lymphatic infection. Photo: Facebook/John Degenkolb.

Degenkolb, recent winner of four stages at the Vuelta a España, is in the hospital, the result of a festering infection from a crash at

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A favorite for the world championship, John Degenkolb is now in a Frankfurt hospital, battling a lymphatic infection. Photo: Facebook/John Degenkolb.

Less than two weeks away from the world road championship, where he was to be considered a favorite for victory, German John Degenkolb is in a Frankfurt hospital with a severe lymphatic infection.

Degenkolb, recent winner of four stages at the Vuelta a España, posted a photo of himself in the hospital to his Facebook page, accompanied by a short post about his situation, the result of an infection from a crash at the Vuelta.

“I’d rather I had written you now about the dazzling celebration of my teammates over my green jersey and four stage wins at the Vuelta,” Degenkolb wrote. “But as life sometimes plays, good luck and bad luck are very much close together. There was nothing from the party. I’m writing you these lines out of the hospital.

“The lymph nodes in my groin were swollen almost to the size of a ping-pong ball. Finally, I could barely walk in pain. One of the scrapes was dirty, and deeper than we thought. In combination with the load at the Vuelta, an inflammation was formed under the already healed skin. My body has reacted, and now I’m here. Thanks at this point to the civil hospital in Frankfurt, the nurses and doctors. I feel in good hands.”

Degenkolb crashed early on stage 7 and suffered a large amount of road rash. Despite his injuries he was able to go on and win another two stages as well as the green jersey. However, after the racing was over one of the wounds became infected and under the guidance of the Giant-Shimano medical experts he was admitted to hospital in Germany.

Degenkolb wrote that while he was barely able to finish the Vuelta’s stage 21 time trial due to pain, he still believes he can recover in time for the men’s world road championship on Sunday, September 28.

“This tormented me on the last stage, so as not to lose the green jersey. In the night I then got the chills, and fever. I went to the doctor after my trip. He led me directly to the hospital, where I got an injection of antibiotics. I must stay here now a few days for observation, but my goal is to keep the world championships in mind.”

Giant-Shimano announced Tuesday, however, that Degenkolb would miss out on the world team time trial championship this Sunday, which he was originally planned to compete in.

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Alison Powers aims for worlds TT http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/alison-powers-aims-worlds-tt_346032 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/alison-powers-aims-worlds-tt_346032#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:39:49 +0000 Maxwell Nagel http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346032

National time trial champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare), has been motorpacing in Boulder, Colorado, preparing for the world TT championships. Photo: Whitney Rogers.

After a successful year, Alison Powers looks to the world championships in Ponferrada, Spain

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National time trial champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare), has been motorpacing in Boulder, Colorado, preparing for the world TT championships. Photo: Whitney Rogers.

As time winds down on the season, Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare) is cranking it up. Out on the flat roads just outside of Boulder, Colorado, Powers can be found on her time trial bike, tucked into the draft of a moped, as she finalizes her preparations for the 2014 UCI Road World Championships.

Powers, the only American to win national titles in all three road disciplines, is in good form to take on worlds at the end of the month. As is customary now at worlds, she will ride for her UnitedHealthcare trade team for the team time trial and the American national squad for the ITT.

VeloNews recently caught up with Powers while she and her team trained for the team event.

“My main focus for the individual time trial is to just go out and have a great ride,” said the two-time and current American time trial champion, “I’d like to say that I can finish in the top 10 or maybe even medal, but realistically, if I just execute my ride really well, I’ll be happy.”

Further bolstering her late-season form, Powers put on a show at criterium nationals last week as she rode off the front for much of the race. Unfortunately for Powers, her move was eventually caught, and she crashed in the closing laps. “This was my last race before worlds and worrying about what might happen to me as I was about to crash was just so sad.” Powers said. If she had suffered a more serious injury, she said, “It wouldn’t just affect me if I went down, but my team time trial team would suffer as well.”

Luckily for UnitedHealthcare and Powers — and the U.S. team — the extent of her injuries was a small cut on her finger. She needed four stitches, but the tumble won’t put her ambitions in danger.

Powers, who currently holds the national road title, will be racing for the U.S. national team in the worlds road race in Ponferrada, Spain. “I’m hoping to be a good teammate for the road race,” Powers said. “I’m looking forward to working for all of the girls on the team who race in Europe regularly.” The American women’s road team also includes Evelyn Stevens, Shelley Olds, Megan Guarnier, Mara Abbott, Carmen Small, and Lauren Hall.

The 2014 UCI Road World Championships will be held in Ponferrada, Spain from September 21-28.

The team time trial kicks off the week on September 21. Powers will race the elite women’s individual time trial on Tuesday, and she’ll wrap up her stint in Spain with the elite women’s road race on Saturday, September 27

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UPDATE: Lampre cuts Ulissi’s return to racing short after Coppa Bernocchi http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/with-doping-case-still-open-ulissi-returns-to-racing_346122 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/with-doping-case-still-open-ulissi-returns-to-racing_346122#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:21:59 +0000 Gregor Brown http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346122

Diego Ulissi finished second in the stage 12 time trial at the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The Italian failed a test during the Giro d’Italia but has yet to hear the UCI’s decision on his case

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Diego Ulissi finished second in the stage 12 time trial at the Giro d'Italia. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

MILAN (VN) — Lampre Merida’s Diego Ulissi had his return to racing cut short. After racing Tuesday in the Coppa Bernocchi, Lampre-Merida announced that Ulissi would not take part in further races until a disciplinary hearing runs its course.

The Italian turned in an anti-doping positive during the Giro d’Italia, which could potentially lead to a two-year ban. The Tuscan won two stages at the Italian grand tour but failed a test for Salbutamol and was later pulled from the team on June 25.

“The head of team medical staff, Doctor Carlo Guardascione, gave Diego Ulissi the authorization to return to racing,” Lampre said in a statement.

Guardascione and Lampre decided to race Ulissi “after having carefully examined the documents made available by the lawyer of Ulissi, [Rocco] Taminelli, and considering the articulated rules and regulations of Movement for a Credible Cycling (MPCC), of which Lampre-Merida is member.”

It added that it is “waiting for further evidence, currently still late, from the UCI and WADA” and that Ulissi will also race the Italy’s Coppa Agostoni on Wednesday and the Tre Valli Varesine on Thursday.

However, on Tuesday after the race, the team said in a press release that the UCI notified Ulissi it recommended disciplinary action and added, “Respecting the internal sanitary rules of the team and the rules of MPCC … Ulissi won’t take part in the next races.

After his successful Giro, Ulissi raced in the Tour de Slovénie from June 19-22. Since then, he has been sitting at home while the authorities decide on his case.

Lampre announced June 25 that Ulissi tested positive after stage 11 at the Giro on May 21. He had already won a pair of stages, and the day after his test he took second in the Barolo time trial. He abandoned the Giro after stage 17 while on antibiotics to fight a sore throat and a fever.

Ulissi was using an inhaler with Salbutamol spray for asthma and, according to Lampre, he took two puffs ahead of the Savona stage and a paracetamol from the race doctor after crashing. The team explained that a urine test showed him with 1,900 nanograms per milliliter of Salbutamol, nearly double the limit of 1,000ng/ml.

The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) only require a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for the asthma drug if more than 1,600mg is used, or around 14 to 17 puffs.

Salbutamol made headlines during the Critérium du Dauphiné in June when television cameras showed 2013 Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) using an inhaler ahead of a mountaintop finish.

Ulissi and his hired expert argue that the crash caused a jump in values and resulting positive. However, after nearly three months, Ulissi is waiting on the UCI to either drop the case or send the files to Swiss Cycling — he lives near Lugano — so that it will open a case. Lampre, meanwhile, after looking over the MPCC rules, decided to race Ulissi.

“In spite of everything I feel stronger,” Ulissi told Il Tirreno. “While suffering, I took a major step forward in terms of physical and mental maturity. In the first month, I was really on the ground, then I bounced back well with the support of my family.”

He still could face a major step backwards since today the UCI passed the case to Swiss Cycling’s anti-doping committee, which could issue him the maximum two-year ban.

Cyclists like Leonardo Piepoli have been pardoned in the past but others, like Alessandro Petacchi, served bans for over-use. Petacchi said he accidentally took too many puffs after a positive test at the 2007 Giro, but still served a nine-month ban.

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Gilbert brushes off favorite status ahead of worlds http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/gilbert-brushes-off-favorite-status-ahead-of-worlds_346115 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/gilbert-brushes-off-favorite-status-ahead-of-worlds_346115#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:46:07 +0000 Andrew Hood http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346115

Philippe Gilbert will try to win his second world title later this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

The 2012 world champion tries to keep the pressure off him for the September 28 road race in Ponferrada

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Philippe Gilbert will try to win his second world title later this month. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

LA CORUNA, Spain (VN) — Call Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) whatever you want, but don’t call him the favorite for the world championships.

The 2012 world champ already will pack enough expectations at the start line for the elite men’s road race September 28, so he’s cagey enough to not go announcing to the world he’s feeling great.

“I will not make the mistake to say too much about, I do not want to make extra pressure,” Gilbert told VeloNews. “I will already have a lot of pressure anyway, so if I am saying I am feeling good, I will have even more. I am keeping quiet, do my work, and then we will see.”

The 32-year-old superstar will line up in Ponferrada with favorite status no matter what he says. Gilbert has been around long enough to know it’s better not to stoke the flames that inevitably come with the pre-worlds hype.

“The pressure will come the week before, because Belgium is a country for the worlds,” Gilbert continued. “I can deal with the pressure. I have the experience with this, but if you have a little less, it’s better. To win it once, it takes a little pressure off of me.”

Gilbert sat down with VeloNews ahead of the final weekend of the Vuelta a Espana, which he used to hone his form for the most important date on the calendar for a one-day race that is not in Belgium. The Ardennes is where Gilbert’s heart lies, but the worlds is a close second.

After leaving a discreet Vuelta without a victory, Gilbert’s luster might not shine as much as if he had managed to win a stage or put down some impressive rides. Others left a bigger impression during the Vuelta, including four-stage-winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), and the likes of Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) or Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), who didn’t win a stage, but were causing people to take notice.

Gilbert’s best result was fifth in stage 7, but he said he’s not worried that he will not be ready for Ponferrada.

“If I can win the worlds, everyone will forget this Vuelta,” Gilbert said with a laugh. “I am OK. I was trying to get deep the last days of the Vuelta. I was trying to stay with the best as long as I could. Every time I’ve done a grand tour, I am always very good after it. That’s no secret.”

But is Gilbert good enough to win what would be his second world title inside three years?

Not only will there be riders coming out of the Vuelta who are in top form, but there are others, such as Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), who won the two Canadian UCI WorldTour races over the weekend, and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who rode to second at the Tour of Britain last week. The favorites list will be long, with or without Gilbert’s name on it.

On paper, the 18.2-kilometer circuit course in the hills of northwest Spain is ideal for Gilbert’s puncheur style. With two deceptively short climbs per circuit and with a total of 306 meters of climbing per lap, the peloton could be in for a surprise on how difficult the race could be. Of course, it depends on which teams take control and how the race unfolds, but a Gilbert at the top of his game would be a podium favorite.

“If you ask a sprinter, they will say it’s hard. If you ask a climber, they will say it’s easy. For me, it can be a good parcours,” he said.

“There is always a selection in a long race. The worlds race is always similar, with one or two countries which take the lead. Then you ride, and with 40km to go, there are only 40-50 guys there, and you think, what happened here? At a certain point, you look behind, and everyone is gone. To be there in the final, it’s quite easy. It’s always very hard to win, because it’s the best guys of the day, then they all look at each other.”

If Gilbert refuses to take on the favorite status, he still harbors ambitions to win. Some have accused Gilbert of going soft after his breakout 2011 season, when he swept the Ardennes classics and scores of other races, and subsequently signed a big-money contract with BMC. He “saved” his 2012 season with the world title, and almost went winless in his world champion season, finally winning a stage at last year’s Vuelta.

Gilbert insists he’s still hungry, and confirmed he’d like to race Paris-Roubaix, and win Milano-Sanremo.

“I would like to race Roubaix, but I don’t know if the team would have me at the start of those races. I hope they have insurance!” he laughed. “Sanremo is a special race. Everyone thinks they can win this race. It’s not really hard, and everyone is there, with 10km to go, oh, my legs are still feeling go, but there are 40 guys who feel that way. At Liège, at 10km, maybe there is one guy who feels like he can attack.”

Gilbert was solid this season, winning Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race in the spring. He skipped the Tour de France, in part to be fresh for a run at the worlds.

And what about a rainbow jersey curse? For Gilbert, who is one of the more personable riders within the peloton, the real curse that came with the rainbow jersey was losing his anonymity.

“When you are the world champion, everyone is looking at you all the time. I am a relaxed person, I like to chat with people, but when I was world champion, I would stay inside the bus until the final five minutes because everyone wanted to say something to me,” Gilbert said. “Now, at this Vuelta, I can talk in the mornings to my old teammates, to my colleagues. When you are the rainbow jersey, you cannot enjoy those moments.”

Gilbert has fond memories of his 2012-winning ride up the Cauberg, and compared it to marking the winning goal in the World Cup final.

“The lights, the flags, all the painting on the road, it was like a football stadium. It’s a privilege to live these moments,” Gilbert reflected. “When I looked back at the top of the Cauberg, I knew it was a question of two minutes and I would be world champion. I knew it was in the pocket at the top of the Cauberg. It was such an amazing feeling.”

Gilbert insists he’s still hungry to win another world title, but admits it wouldn’t be the same as when he won in 2012.

“When you win one time, you are already in history, so if you win two times, you are even more,” he said. “The first time, it is really something special. For me, it was a dream for more than 15 years. Even when I was a junior, I was trying to become a world champion. If you win a second time, it would not be the same.”

You get the feeling talking to Gilbert that he’s not telling the full story. He shrugs off suggestions that there will be a rivalry within the Belgian national team, with him, Boonen, and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) all elbowing for the team leadership, saying it’s better to have more cards to play in the finale.

By downplaying his chances to take pressure off himself, he’s in a way revealing just how much he’d like to win another rainbow jersey.

Having one hanging on his wall gives him a more dangerous edge against his other, perhaps more desperate rivals, and he knows it. To win the worlds once is a lifelong quest for most elite pros. To win it twice is a luxury afforded just a few times in cycling history. Gilbert knows he cannot lose no matter what happens.

“To win it once, it takes a little pressure off of me. If I am in a final with another guy, I can play on the fact that I already have won,” he explained. “I can say, ‘OK, you have to win, because I have already won it.’ It’s the same for me in the classics. When I come into a final with a young guy, they have the pressure not to miss it. It’s always easier to have some big wins behind you.”

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Cadel Evans to retire February 2015 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/cadel-evans-retire-february-2015_346105 http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/09/news/cadel-evans-retire-february-2015_346105#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 23:57:35 +0000 VeloNews.com http://velonews.competitor.com/?p=346105

Cadel Evans is set to retire on February 1, 2015. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

After a gritty career, Cadel Evans will retire from professional cycling on February 1

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Cadel Evans is set to retire on February 1, 2015. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Australian Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour de France winner and 2009 world road champion, will retire from professional cycling on February 1, 2015, according to an Italian sporting newspaper.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported Monday that the decorated 37-year-old rider will hang it up after riding next season’s Tour Down Under, in January, and then taking part in the Great Ocean Road Race, which bears his name, on February 1.

Evans is far from finished yet, however. He still has the UCI Road World Championships on his plate this season, as part of a stacked Australian national squad, which includes recent winners Simon Gerrans, Adam Hansen, and Michael Matthews.

Evans (BMC Racing) came to the sport from mountain biking — he won the overall World Cup series titles in 1998 and 1999 — and established himself as one of the toughest general classification riders of his generation after making the switch to road racing full time in 2000. His palmares is as impressive as it is thorough; he won the 2011 Tour, and finished in the top 10 at the Tour on six occasions.

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