Damien Howson crowned World Champion in U23 ITT
Australia’s strong run of form at the UCI Road World Championships has continued with Damien Howson claiming the Under 23 Individual Time Trial World Title last night.
Perfect conditions once again greeted riders as they set off from Pistoia en route to the heart of Florence. The picturesque 43km course providing the ideal setting for the 21 year old to stamp his authority on the field and claim his first ever rainbow jersey.
Howson adds the World Time Trial Title to the Australian and Oceania U23 Time Trial titles that he claimed earlier in 2013.
“Since getting third in the World Championships in Limburg last year, this has been a major focus of mine.” said Howson. “I was really nervous coming into the start, but I knew that if I had the perfect ride I was a good chance to come away with the win.”
The young man from Adelaide who has spent the year racing in Europe with the highly successful Jayco-AIS World Tour Academy, made the race his own from the first pedal stroke. He won in a time of 49.49, 57 seconds ahead of Frenchman Yoann Paillot with Lasse Norman Hansen taking bronze for Denmark.
Howson’s Australian teammate Campbell Flakemore was just off the podium in 4th place posting a time of 51.11.
Dream come true! 2013 U/23 ITT World Champion! Couldnt be happier. Thanks everyone who has been appart of the ride and get me to this point.
— Damien Howson (@damien_howson) September 23, 2013
Howson will step up to the professional ranks when he joins Orica-GreenEDGE in 2014.
“I was very happy to sign with Orica-GreenEDGE.”added the newly crowned World Champion. “I’m very excited about taking the next step in my career with the team and hopefully becoming a Grand Tour contender in the future.”
Coach James Victor was glowing in his praise of his young charge. “Damien is very strong mentally.” said Victor, who has now coached Australian riders to three World Titles. “It has been a long season, but consistency is the key to winning Time Trials and he approached the race with confidence and executed the plan beautifully.”
Howson will now have a few days to recover before saddling up with his Australian U23 teammates to tackle Friday’s 173km road race, where he hopes help put the Australia team in a position to once again battle for the podium.
Follow the link for results from the men’s U23 World Championship ITT. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Nicholls and Manly podium in the Road World Championships junior ITT
Australian riders Alexandria Nicholls and Alexandra Manly have continued the strong start for Australia at the UCI Road World Championships in Florence with stunning rides in the Junior Girl’s individual Time Trial.
Nicholls was the second rider away in perfect weather conditions yesterday and rode brilliantly to cover the 16km course in 22:45.32, putting her in the hot seat for the duration of the race.
It was looking like an Aussie one-two at the intermediate checkpoint when the final rider Eraud Severine crossed 13 seconds down on Nicholls, however the French girl rallied in the final stretch to claim the rainbow jersey by under three seconds.
“I came into the race not really expecting a medal.” said Nicholls from Dubbo, NSW. “The fact that I’m standing here with a silver next to Alex is absolutely bewildering to me. To come away with a medal is just a dream come true.”
Manly was equally surprised by the result.
“It’s absolutely amazing just to be here.” said the girl from Kalgoolie in WA. “I’m just so happy and have the chance to share it with Alex, I can’t quite believe it.”
The girls will now re-focus ahead of the Junior Girls Road Race this Friday.
Follow the link for results from the 2013 junior women’s world championship ITT. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Euskaltel-Euskadi to fold after talks with Fernando Alonso stall
The deal for Spanish two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso to rescue the financially stricken Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team has collapsed, both parties confirmed on Monday.
The Basque team had previously announced that a deal had been agreed “in principle” for Alonso to fill a funding gap in their sponsorship after it lost 3.5 million euros ($5 million AUD) of local government funding due to spending cuts.
News emerged that a sponsor had been found in the form of Alonso but the two-time Formula One world champion said a deal couldn’t be reached.
“We tried right to the end but it was impossible to maintain a cycling team in 2014,” he said in a statement, before reiterating his determination to fund a team.
“My passion for this sport and the desire to work together and put in our grain of sand remains intact, this is just the beginning of the future,” he added. “From tomorrow we will start building from nothing a team that we can be proud of.
The team’s main sponsor, telecommunications company Euskaltel, had filled the funding gap themselves this season, taking their contribution to seven million of the team’s nine million euro budget
However, it said that level of investment was unsustainable and it was announced in August that the team would be shut down at the end of the season should another sponsor not be found. And with the breakdown in negotiations it appears as if the last hope to save the 19-year old team have disappeared.
“For Euskaltel it is sad news that after the hope generated by the agreement in principle, a definitive agreement has not been formalised to guarantee a professional future for the members of the team and to reward the fans that have been loyal until the last moment”, the company said in a statement.
“Having not achieved an agreement, Euskaltel is unfortunately obligated to restart an organised and responsible closure of the project.”
Despite the uncertainty over the team’s future, Euskaltel achieved their first ever victory in the team classification of a grand tour in the recently completed Tour of Spain.
However, cyclists contracted to the team for the 2014 season, including Olympic gold medallist Samuel Sanchez, had already been given permission to speak to other teams about finding a place in the peloton for next season.
Text via AFP. The original Spanish press release can be found here
Svein Tuft withdraws from worlds ITT
Canadian Svein Tuft has announced his withdrawal from Wednesday’s men’s ITT at the world championships, citing physical and mental exhaustion after a long and gruelling season.
“I’ve decided to pull myself from the individual time trial scheduled for September 25,” said Tuft in a statement.
“Ever since the Tour de France, I’ve found myself running on fumes and after Sunday’s effort for the team time trial, I’ve spent everything out on the road.
“The specific training required for the TTT is of a very different nature and in being realistic with myself, I feel I’m not at the level that the physical and mental energy of an individual effort over an hour requires.”
Tuft’s season began back in January with the Tour de San Luis and he’s since completed two Grand Tours with Orica-GreenEDGE.
The 36-year-old Canadian was a key player in Orica-GreenEDGE’s silver medal in the TTT on Sunday. He was set to be Canada’s only representative in the ITT and he won’t be replaced.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Theo Bos returns to racing after low-cortisol lay-off
Theo Bos has been cleared to race by his Belkin team after missing the Vuelta a Espana due to low cortisol levels.
Belkin has suggested that Bos’ low cortisol levels were due to an asthma medication he was taking, rather than through the use of any banned substances.
Bos was removed from the Vuelta because Belkin is a member of the MPCC (movement for credible cycling) which mandates that riders must not race with low cortisol levels and must not return to competition until levels return to normal.
Bos will return to competition this Wednesday in Belgium. He said that he has been doing some training and is ready to knuckle down again.
“During the investigation I already started riding my bike now and then. With everything behind me, I can start racing with good feelings,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the GP Houtland and after that the Tour of Beijing.”
Click here to read more at VeloNation.
Contador to ride the Tour de France and the Vuelta next season
While Alberto Contador is focused on this week’s world championships, the Spaniard also has his eye on 2014 and the races he’ll target then.
In an interview yesterday with Spanish sports daily AS, the Saxo-Tinkoff rider said he will be riding the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, the latter of which he missed this year.
Contador will start his season later than this year “so I can get started at a good level and on routes which are favourable to get in some early wins.”
Contador is likely to go into this Sunday’s world championship road race in a support role for Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Gino Bartali posthumously receives award for rescuing Jews during WWII
Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial authority in Jerusalem, has awarded late cycling champion Gino Bartali the honour of “Righteous Among The Nations,” which is given to non-Jews who stood up to the Nazi genocide during World War II.
Bartali helped rescue Jews during World War II by smuggling documents on his bicycle while pretending to train.
“During the German occupation of Italy, Bartali, a devout Catholic, was part of a rescue network spearheaded by Rabbi Nathan Cassuto of Florence together with the Archbishop of Florence Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa,” Yad Vashem said in a statement.
“Bartali acted as a courier for the network, secreting forged documents and papers in his bicycle and transporting them between cities, all under the guise of training. Knowingly risking his life to rescue Jews, Bartali transferred falsified documents to various contacts, among them Rabbi Cassuto.”
In 2009 — almost 70 years after the events, and nine years after his death — evidence began to emerge of Bartali’s hitherto unknown actions, which helped to save the lives of 800 Jews.
In 1943 Bartali, already a Tour de France champion and two-time winner of the Giro d’Italia, was assigned to the traffic police by the fascist regime, before leaving the job on September 8. He then went underground, choosing to help persecuted Jews by smuggling identity photos to a convent that produced counterfeit papers.
As far as the soldiers who guarded the road between Florence and San Quirico, near Assisi, were concerned, Bartali was merely on a 380-kilometre (240-mile) training run. In fact, valuable documents were hidden inside the frame and saddle of his bicycle.
Right up to his death, Bartali rarely spoke about these acts of bravery, keeping them secret even from his wife.
“Good is something you do, not something you talk about. Some medals are pinned to your soul, not to your jacket,” he once said.
Towards the end of 1943 he was thrown into prison for 45 days, officially because of his support for the Vatican, which opposed the fascist regime. By chance he was never required to appear before the special war tribunal and was set free without trial.
On his release he resumed his career and won a third Giro d’Italia and a second Tour de France, while Italian fans eagerly followed his legendary rivalry with Fausto Coppi.
The Righteous Among The Nations title has been awarded to some 24,000 people in 44 countries since it was set up in 1963. Honorees receive medals, and their names are inscribed on a dedicated wall near the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
Text via AFP.
Polish cycling great Szozda dies at 62
Poland’s former amateur world time-trial champion and double Olympic silver medallist Stanislaw Szozda has died at the age of 62, following a long illness, the Polish cycling Union announced on Monday.
Szozda won the 1973 and 1975 global crowns against the clock and also helped Poland come second in the 100km team time-trial at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. As well as winning silver in the world road race in 1973, he won the 1971 Tour of Poland, 1973 Tour of Algeria and 1974 Peace Race.
He retired from the sport at just 28 following a nasty crash during the 1978 Peace Race. The nature of his illness was not disclosed and he would have been 63 on Wednesday.
Text via AFP.
Cycling’s Greatest Fraud
You’re probably more than familiar with the story behind Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace but in case you’re a little sketchy on some of the details, this National Geographic documentary is worth a watch. Click the image below to watch the doco.
Hein Verbruggen leaves an angry voicemail for Jonathan Vaughters
Here’s former UCI president Hein Verbruggen leaving an angry voicemail for Garmin-Sharp director Jonathan Vaughters with regards to the Tour of Beijing back in 2011. Here’s an article on Cycling News by Jonathan Vaughters that provides some context about the call.
How Bikes Make Cities Cool: Portland
And here’s a bit of a change of pace. This video might be a year old but it’s still worth a watch. It’s about the cycling culture in Portland, Oregon, and what makes that particular city one of the cycling capitals of the US.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:
- BMC TMR01 review
- Tour of Britain: looking for ways to shine (with photos by Kristof Ramon)
- Rocacorba Daily: Monday September 23