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Cycling Racing News and Opinion
Friday, September 5, 2014

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Andy Schleck to Denmark?

L'Equipe reports that Andy Schleck may ride for the Danish team team Cult Energy. Though Andy Schleck's brother Frank has extended his contract with Trek Factory Racing, his talented but difficult to manage brother Andy has yet to land a contract. Cult Energy plans increase its budget and become a Pro Continental team in 2015. L'Equipe also reports that the team would welcome Schleck's bringing along his manager, Kim Andersen.

Andy Schleck is the winner of the 2010 Tour de France, a victory given to him after Alberto Contador was stripped of the title because of a doping positive. Schleck is currently recovering from a crash in this year's Tour de France.

Schleck brothers

The Schleck brothers Andy and Frank at a pre-Tour de France press conference. Photo ©Sirotti

Ivan Rovny Extends with Tinkoff-Saxo

Ivan Rovny will ride for Tinkoff-Saxo for another year. Here's the team statement on the signing:

Tinkoff-Saxo is glad to announce that the team has extended the contract with Ivan Rovny. The 26-year old Russian has inked a one-year deal keeping him on the team ahead of the ambitious 2015-season. Team manager Bjarne Riis, who’s leading the Tinkoff-Saxo squad in Vuelta a España, is satisfied with Rovny’s performance at the Spanish Grand Tour as well as his development throughout this season.

“Ivan Rovny proved to be stable within the team in the Giro this year. And here in the Vuelta he’s doing a very good job for the team and Alberto. He's strong and he's there in the crosswinds to offer his help. He's doing a great job every day and I think it's natural that his contract is extended. This is his first year with the team and I think he can still develop with us as a rider for the future”, says Bjarne Riis.

Ivan Rovny started his professional career in 2006 at the unusual young age of 19, where he rode with Oleg Tinkov’s team Tinkoff Credit Systems. After a stint on several other teams, Rovny joined Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014, where he has appeared in two Grand Tours – Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – both times showing immense work effort. Ivan is excited to stay with the team and he looks forward to being a part of the very strong 2015 roster.

“It’s great news for me, I’m excited about staying. I think I’ve worked hard during this season and I want to continue to improve. We will have one of the very best teams in cycling next year and I’m ready to work as hard as possible”, concludes Ivan Rovny.

Team and Rider Comments on Vuelta Stage 12

From Tinkoff-Saxo:

With Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador leading the Vuelta a Espana ahead of Alejandro Valverde, the peloton set out on today’s 166 kilometer long 12th stage in and around the city of Logrono. As expected, the sprinter teams took control of the stage, which was decided in a bunch sprint where John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) prevailed. Alberto Contador and Tinkoff-Saxo successfully retained the overall lead of the race after picking up the pace the finale.

Logrono hosted an almost exact replica of today’s stage in the 2012 edition of the Vuelta and just like then, a breakaway dominated the 8 laps on the slightly hilly circuit in Logrono. As a kamikaze pilot, Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) launched a solo attack on the field and spent most of the stage alone the front of the peloton.

The sprinter teams didn’t want to miss this golden opportunity to shine and Tinkoff-Saxo profited by this this and were constantly lurking behind the engines of the bunch to protect Contador from crashes and gaps, saving as much energy as possible in the process.

Krizek was swept up with 12 kilometers to go and going under the 10 kilometer banner, Tinkoff-Saxo picked up the pace significantly in the front of the pack, that was strung out in one long line. Going through a series of roundabouts, the pace was kept above 60 km/h all the way to the finish line where John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was the fastest of the fast riders. Unfortunately, the final was marred by a big pile-up but luckily, Contador managed to get around it.

DS, Steven De Jongh comments:

"I think it was a good day for us. There was one rider in the front throughout the day and all we had to take care of Alberto. There was a big crash in the finale. We didn't see what happened but when we passed by in the car there were still riders on the ground. Alberto wasn't involved and was safe but I hope nobody suffered any serious injuries."

Daniele Bennati adds:

"At some point, a dog entered the parcours and wanted to bite Tosatto. Fortunately, it didn't succeed. Seriously, it was a calm day, we rode calmy all day. In the two last laps, as expected, the sprinters took over and we stayed in the front. Fortunately, Alberto stayed out of the big crash and for us that was the most important thing."

Chris Froome and Alberto Contador

Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the start of stage 12. Photo ©Sirotti

Team Belkin's statement about stage 12:

There's no such thing as an easy stage in a grand tour, but riders from Belkin Pro Cycling team avoided danger in a crash-marred finale Thursday in stage 12 at the Vuelta a España. After a relatively routine, 166km circuit course around Logroño, sprinters revving up for the finale crashed late in the stage, but fortunately, no one from Belkin was involved. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won his third stage of this Vuelta, and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained the overall lead.

Belkin's Robert Wagner was the man for the sprint, but was lucky to avoid a crash in the closing two kilometres that split up the bunch.

"Today was my chance, and I missed the chance. From now on, we are going uphill quite a bit, and it's no secret it will be really hard for me," Wagner said. "I wasn't in position for the sprint, but I can be happy that I was too far behind, because there was a big crash. It happened in the last two kilometres or so."

The eight-lap urban circuit around Logroño in Spain's Rioja wine country was boring, but came as a welcome respite with the hardest part of the Vuelta waiting in the mountains of Asturias this weekend.

"It was a little bit hectic in the final and I couldn't help out the guys like I wanted to, but everything worked out OK, so it's one day closer to Santiago," said Laurens ten Dam. "Yesterday was full-gas from the beginning, so it was good that we took it a little bit easier today. The whole bunch was tired, so on a circuit like this, you normally get a race like this."
Team captain Robert Gesink finished safely in the bunch to retain ninth overall. Because the crash happened within 3km of the finish line, time differences were not taken into account for the GC.

"It went pretty good. It was a really, really boring stage. Eight laps, one guy in the breakaway, so I got to catch up with a lot of guys," Gesink said with a laugh. "Days like this, I don't know why they put them in the race. They are not that interesting for us. It was very dangerous in the end. There was a big crash, for us it's about not losing time. Sometimes you have to mix it up with the sprinters, it can be scary. It was another day done, and on to the next one."

The 69th Vuelta continues Friday with the 189km 13th stage from Belorado to Parque de Cabárceno. After a flat start, the stage kicks up with a short, but steep hilltop finale in Spain's Cantabria region.

"The 'soldiers' tried their best today. We were not involved in the crash, so that was good news. It was a really boring stage," said Sports Director Erik Dekker. "Friday is not a real mountain finish. I am not really sure what to expect tomorrow. It's flat for the first half, then a few climbs, then a difficult finish. I think 500m is really steep, then the last kilometre flattens out. Maybe it's a day for getting into the break."

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink in Vuelta stage 11. Photo ©Sirotti

And this from BMC:

The BMC Racing Team spent Thursday's stage of the Vuelta a España looking after Samuel Sánchez and his sixth place on the general classification as the peloton enjoyed a more relaxed day.

Samuel Sanchez

Samuel Sanchez rides the stage 10 time trial. Photo ©Sirotti

Sánchez was not among the riders who crashed on the final turn of the 166.4-kilometer race that comprised eight laps of a flat, 20.8-km circuit. As the crash occurred in the final three kilometers, all riders were awarded the same time as stage winner John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Shimano) and there were no changes in the overall standings. Sánchez remains 1:52 behind race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with nine stages to go. "It was all flat, nothing special," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. "It was more or less a rest day for everybody." Manuel Quinziato, one of the riders charged with protecting Sánchez, said he saw an opportunity to attack with 2.5 km to go. "There were a lot of corners and I was feeling really good," he said. "Unfortunately, Tinkoff-Saxo kept a strong pace. I was thinking maybe they were not so interested in going after me. It was worth a try. If you don't try, you don't win."

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