By Gregor Brown
Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), winner of Milan-Sanremo and the GP Quebec, will lead Australia's national team in the World Championships next Sunday. Yesterday, the national federation selected its nine-man team with Gerrans as the clear star.
Gerrans finished third last year in Amstel Gold behind Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing). The Dutch classic covers some of the same roads and uses the same finishing climb, the Cauberg, as the Worlds. Gerrans won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec WorldTour race in Canada last Friday.
The team also includes Simon Clarke, Allan Davis (both from Orica-GreenEdge), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Matthews (Rabobank), Richie Porte, Michael Rogers (both Sky) and David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).
Orica's Luke Durbridge and Cameron Meyer will race the time trial.
Contador celebrates (seven) Grand Tour wins
Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) flashed seven fingers when celebrating his Vuelta a España victory on Sunday in Madrid. The win marked his fifth Grand Tour win after two were struck as part of a doping ban.
"In my mind, it's the number of Grand Tours that I've won," Contador told Spain's TVE television. "The number that appears on paper is secondary to me."
The win was his second Vuelta a España after 2008's win. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2008 and 2011 and the Tour de France in 2007, 2009 and 2010. After the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling this February, which included a two-year back-dated ban, he lost his 2011 Giro and 2010 Tour wins. The Spaniard failed a drug test for Clenbuterol on the rest day at the 2010 Tour.
Lombardy celebrate Gimondi's 70th birthday
The Tour of Lombardy will help celebrate Felice Gimondi's 70th birthday on September 29. In addition to the race, which starts from his hometown in Bergamo on the same date, the organiser is celebrating with a dinner the night before and the Gran Fondo Gimondi the day after.
"I'm honoured and slightly emotional about so much being organised to celebrate my birthday," Gimondi said in a race press release. "Lombardy is a great race, it's one of the five 'monumental' classics and whoever wins is a real champion rider. I managed to win it twice, in 1966 and 1973. They're two special victories and two great memories that I'll never forget."
See the rainbow
The Tour of Lombardy highlights a week of Italian one-day races that should welcome cycling's new world champion.
Milan-Turin returns this year on September 26, the Wednesday after the Worlds in Valkenburg, and may be the first spot to see the rainbow jersey. The Tour of Piedmont on September 27, Lombardy on September 29 and the Giro dell'Emilia on October 6 come in the following week.
Mark Cavendish debuted in the rainbow jersey last year in Paris-Tours. Thor Hushovd, the year before, used Piedmont.
Hushovd suffered virus and muscle problem
A virus and muscle inflammation knocked out Thor Hushovd, said BMC Racing team in a press release on Friday.
"We determined Thor suffered a post-viral syndrome with secondary myositis - or muscle inflammation," team doctor, Max Testa said. "His medical condition is currently improving, and a full recovery is expected for next season."
Hushovd added: "Now that I've finally found out why I had this weakness, I'm relieved."
He missed much of the season, including the Tour de France and Olympics. According to CQ Ranking, he raced only 4399.2 kilometres, half to a third of his normal season.
Road World Championships 2012: Coverage index
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