Boonen upset to miss worlds, Australians don’t pick Renshaw
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Boonen upset to miss worlds, Australians don’t pick Renshaw

by Shane Stokes at 11:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
Two big names missing from teams for Copenhagen

Tom BoonenTom Boonen’s bid to take his second world championship in six years has run aground, with the Belgian being forced to tell national selectors that he wouldn’t be up to the task.

The Quick Step rider had pinpointed the worlds as his top season target but a hard crash on September 4th in the Vuelta a España took Boonen out of the race. He was subsequently diagnosed with a fracture to the scaphoid in his left hand and a complication from this has meant that his season is now at end.

Latest checks have revealed that he has a fissure to the area, and will wear a cast for two weeks. After that time, even if the recovery is going well, he will have to continue wearing it for another fortnight.

“I’m really upset,” he explained. “I really wanted to participate in this World title. The route was perfect for me and the preparation program I was working on would have taken me to the championship event in top form. Unfortunately, rather than diminishing, the pain in my hand is increasing day by day and I simply cannot race in this condition. I relinquish my place on the squad to an athlete who can be of use to our national team.”

World number one Philippe Gilbert will be the sole leader of the team. He’s been in superb form this season, and in the past few days he won the GP Cycliste de Quebec and finished third yesterday in the GP Cycliste de Montreal. However he had hoped to share top billing with Boonen, thus taking some of the pressure of on a course deemed more likely to suit sprinters.

He will now be joined by Jürgen Roelandts, Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren, Tour of Flanders victor Nick Nuyens, Greg Van Avermaet, Kevin De Weert, Olivier Kaisen, Björn Leukemans and Klaas Lodewyck.

Boonen hopes that they can do the business without him. “I wish the Belgian team a championship rich in success in Copenhagen,” he said, willing another to take the rainbow jersey that he had himself hoped to wear.

It’s been a difficult season for the rider, who crashed out of three of his top season goals. He hit the deck in Paris-Roubaix and withdrew; he then suffered bad concussion during the Tour de France and had to call it quits as a result. Then the Vuelta a España incident also saw him being forced to head home early.

He knows that his poor fortune has to turn around, and so will focus his attention on next year. “I need to recover the function in my left hand 100% and then lay out a program for the 2012 season with my team. I’m hoping to have a luckier season than the one I’m having now.”

Australians overlook Renshaw

Meanwhile Australian selectors have taken the somewhat controversial decision not to select the rider deemed by some as being the best leadout man in cycling, Mark Renshaw. The HTC Highroad rider has helped Mark Cavendish to many of his biggest successes and with this year’s worlds predicted to end in a gallop, the Tour of Qatar winner was expected to be part of the lineup.

Instead, his team-mate Matt Goss will lead the squad in the race. He will be the sole leader, and will be backed by Simon Gerrans, Michael Rogers, Matt Hayman and Chris Sutton (Team Sky), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank SunGard) plus Simon Clarke (Astana).

Renshaw made it clear on Twitter that he was hoping to be there, rather than listed simply as a reserve. “Surprise surprise.... No world champs for me. Would like to say I understand but I don't. Guess I need to prove myself?”

There were already some hints of possible differences between himself and Cycling Australia. He was expected by many to be part of the GreenEdge team in 2012, a new setup which has close links to the Australian federation, but instead signed a contract with the Rabobank team.

In an interview with VeloNation two days ago, he said that he and the team weren’t on the same page . “We had some talks, and in the end I think they already had the riders they wanted,” he said. “To be honest with you, I don’t know if there was a place there for me.

“We had some discussions but, yeah, I think they already had their main riders…there wasn’t too much to talk about, really.”

He will doubtlessly elaborate on the worlds disappointment in time. Meanwhile Cycling Australia’s National Performance Director Kevin Tabotta has said he is sure the right lineup has been picked.

“I believe we've put together teams best suited for the course taking into account recent form and results,” he said. “We've considered the possible scenarios that might arise during the race and selected the riders to suit.

“It was certainly one of the hardest teams to pick because the depth and quality in the men's elite ranks is very healthy right now,” said Tabotta. “The team has proven finishers and strong experienced team players who can guide our team of nine riders towards a result. We also have quality options for a large group finish.”

Jack Bobridge (Garmin Cervélo) and Richie Porte (Saxo Bank SunGard) will do the time trial.

Women and juniors also named

Cycling Australia has also announced the lineup for the women’s road race, and reconfirmed the squads for the junior events, as previously released in June.

The Elite women will comprise eight riders, namely Rochelle Gilmore and Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto Honda), Shara Gillow and Amanda Spratt (Team Jayco AIS), Chloe Hosking (HTC Highroad), Carla Ryan (Garmin-Cervélo) and Jessie Maclean (Verducci Breakaway).

Gilmore is likely the captain, although she recently returned from a broken pelvis sustained in the Giro Donne in Verona. It may end up that she directs the team, but another rider is in a better position to try to win.

Gillow and Taryn Heather will do the time trial.

The junior lineup sees Jessica Allen, Jessica Mundy and Allison Rice do the women’s event, and Alexander Edmondson, David Edwards, Jackson Law, Bradley Linfield, Nicholas Schultz and Calvin Watson compete in the men’s road race.

As Australia has topped the medal table at the past two road world championships, Tabotta is keen that another big campaign takes place. “We go into the event with the goal of winning medals,” he said. “Our women are certainly capable of a place on the podium and our men's team is one of the strongest we've ever named. We will be competitive.”



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