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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 2, 2010

Date published:
April 02, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • TD Bank to sponsor Philadelphia race for three years

    Riders pass under the Philly skyline.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 20:05 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Premier cycling event secures Comcast SportsNet television broadcasting

    TD Bank has signed on as the title sponsor of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championships and the women's Liberty Classic for the next three years. The one-day races are set to take place on Sunday, June 6.

    "They are a strong supporter of the race," said Dave Chauner, president of the event's organizing committee Pro Cycling Tour. "They are planning to do family fun zone activities below the steps of the Art Museum. They are going to do some pre-event promotion in their branches and corporate hospitality and entertainment down at the race. I'd say they are pretty active in engaging in their sponsorship."

    "I think it's an important priority for us to get back to developing strong multi-year partnerships," he added. "With a couple of big multi-year contracts in place it makes it a lot easier and of greater interest for sponsors to sign on."

    Chauner also confirmed a three-year partnership with television broadcasters Comcast SportsNet to provide live television coverage of the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas between 12:00pm and 3:30pm EST. The final 90 minutes of the race will be simultaneously broadcasted live on the Versus network for viewers across the United States of America.

    "Comcast SportsNet is part of the whole Comcast family," Chauner said. "It is a regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and we will also be on six other Comcast SportsNet regional sports networks around the country and live on Versus, which is owned by Comcast SportsNet."

    "This definitely enhances the potential for sponsorship," he added. "We are working very closely with the Comcast SportsNet sales team of about 15 to 20 account representatives and this first year is about getting to know each other. But we are working closely with our team to present integrated packages to sponsors that include event benefits and broadcast benefits."

    The TD Bank...

  • HTC-Columbia counts on Eisel for Tour of Flanders

    Bernhard Eisel (HTC - Columbia) shows off his Gent - Wevelgem winner's trophy.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 21:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Cavendish to be given free reign in Sunday's Classic

    The HTC-Columbia squad will be looking to Gent-Wevelgem winner Bernhard Eisel as its leader for the Tour of Flanders. The Austrian has "the most realistic chance of winning" on Sunday, according to director Tristan Hoffman.

    "He's really focussed, he's shown he's got great form, and we will try and bring him to the crucial final kilometres in the best position possible.

    "For him, winning Gent-Wevelgem was a big step up. He's always been very generous when it comes to working for the team, but now he can smell those wins for himself, too. He's growing into a new role, but we're sure he's got the confidence to handle himself well. Flanders is a very tough race, but there's no doubt HTC-Columbia has a very motivated squad for this event."

    Sprinter Mark Cavendish will take part in the Belgian Classic for the first time in his career, but will not be in his usual role as the team's protected rider.

    "He'll have a free role within the team's bigger game plan. He'll be working for Bernie and be learning about Flanders as well," said Hoffman.

    HTC-Columbia for Tour of Flanders: Mark Cavendish (GBr), Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Matt Goss (Aus), Vicente Reynes (Spa), Hayden Roulston (NZ), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Martin Velits (Svk).

  • Phinney enters European phase with winning mentality

    Taylor Phinney needs no introduction.
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 21:52 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Track champion in final U23 season before going pro in 2011

    After winning gold and bronze at the Track World Championships in Copenhagen last month, Taylor Phinney is hoping to transfer his good form onto the road in a series of under-23 races in northern Europe.

    The American is bunking up at USA Cycling’s U23 base in Izegem, Belgium for the next three weeks and will be racing in the U23 Tour of Flanders and a series of Nations Cup events, but unlike last year, when Phinney was new to the events, he’ll be entering with a more aggressive, winning mentality.

    "I have a three day race this weekend in northern France," Phinney said. "I got top ten overall last year which was good for me as it was my first U23 race but I’m going there to win the time trial this year."

    "When I came here last year I was just coming for experience and I thought I was going to get my butt whipped, but it wasn’t that bad so I’m aiming at winning races this time. I think I have a chance and it’s about going in now with a winning focus and not just an experience focus."

    Phinney prepared for the Worlds on tracks in California and then Italy, meaning he’s missing valuable road miles in his legs. His training has been based around short but intense efforts as opposed to long endurance based work outs but he’s isn’t fazed, having ridden a similar programme last year.

    "We’ll see how it goes. It’s definitely difficult from going from two hour days when it’s high intense work to steady four or five hour riders. I didn’t have much of a problem last year but the weather isn’t’ going to be great and that’s a little different to riding on the inside of a wooden velodrome."

    Going pro in 2011

    With his race season planned out for the spring Phinney already has one eye on 2011 when he aims to turn professional with Lance Armstrong’s RadioShack team. According to Phinney he had the chance to go...

  • Canadian Cycling Association launches "Race Clean" anti-doping program

    Erinne Willock (Webcor) working hard near the top of the climb
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 21:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Kabush, Willock, Pendrel, Bell, others express support

    The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) launched a new anti-doping program called "Race Clean OWN YOUR VICTORY" earlier this week. The program is athlete-driven and complements the "Roulez Gagnants au Naturel" program that the Québéc cycling federation has been delivering in its province and through its provincial teams at national and invitational events.

    The "Race Clean" part of the name directly recognises the importance of fair play, clean sport, and the obligation that racers have to compete within the rules. "It is our hope that all Canadian athletes respect the rules which include not using prohibited substances or practices," said the CCA in a press release.

    The "OWN YOUR VICTORY" words are intended to promote a more personal and internal motivation for clean sport. "We hope that every athlete strives to achieve their own personal goals or victories no matter what they may be; from local club races all the way to the Olympics. We also hope that they have complete ownership of these victories and are able to feel the reward of their hard work and dedication," continued the release.

    "We don't want the victories or accomplishments to ring hollow with ownership belonging to cheating or doping. No matter what the accomplishment we hope the athletes can look at their results with pride and never have to ask what they could have achieved themselves."

    The CCA pointed to several cyclists as role models for clean sport, including Tara Whitten, Svein Tuft, Catharine Pendrel, Geoff Kabush, Zach Bell, Erinne Willock.

    "It was a much more difficult situation when I started racing but I am very optimistic for the next generation of cyclists," said mountain biker Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). "I made the decision very early in my career that everything I was going to achieve was going to happen naturally.

    "It is so much more rewarding to be on top of a podium knowing that it was due to my...

  • Fuglsang to leave Saxo Bank?

    The stage one podium: Tomaz Nose (Adria Mobil), Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) and Mitja Mahoric
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 9:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Unsigned contract extension opens door for Dane in search for higher salary

    Jacob Fuglsang, "one of the biggest talents in cycling" according to his current team manager Bjarne Riis, may be preparing to leave the Danish Saxo Bank team at the end of this season. Last October, the squad announced that it had reached an agreement with Fuglsang to extend his contract for three more years, but Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet revealed in March that this agreement was actually never signed.

    "We were never fully in agreement and the press release announcing the contract was released too early due to a misunderstanding," said Fuglsang.

    Team manager Riis confirmed this. "I have a contract with Jacob, but it is true that he has not signed it yet," he stated. "But I don't see what the big problem is. Generally, it's my belief that all riders on the team want to stay where they are."

    Unfortunately for Riis, this may not be the case for Fuglsang. With other teams luring the 24-year-old and Riis' ongoing search for a new main sponsor as of 2011, the gifted stage race hopeful may opt to leave the Danish outfit if the right opportunity presents itself.

    "I believe that I can get a better contract," Fuglsang told this week, revealing that the contract negotiations between him and Riis were not conclusive at this point, also because of the proposed salary. "I think in a sense that I am worth more. I know that several teams are interested in me."

    Another reason the former mountain biker is unsure of wanting to commit further to Riis is the team's uncertain sponsorship situation. "I want to stay with Riis. But with the uncertainty that has arisen on the team's future, it is best to wait before I sign something," he said.

    In the meantime, the double Tour of Denmark winner will continue to do his utmost for the squad, especially at the upcoming Classics and the Tour de France in July. "I see myself as an important piece of the team. This doesn't mean that I think I only have to win, but I...

  • Final team selections for Tour of Flanders

    Bernhard Eisel (HTC - Columbia) shows off his Gent - Wevelgem winner's trophy.
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 9:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Quick Step, Bbox, HTC-Columbia and Landbouwkrediet name squads

    Four teams riding this Sunday's Tour of Flanders announced their squads for the event overnight, with Quick Step the obvious favourite, full of stars capable of winning what is essentially its 'home' race.

    Boasting reigning champion Stijn Devolder and dual Flanders winner Tom Boonen, Patrick Lefevere's team also includes Sylvain Chavanel and Carlos Barredo, two riders capable of making headlines in the cobbled race.

    While Devolder has featured in the Belgian media during the last week, he appears to remain relaxed and focused on the event, explaining that the recent KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde has been useful preparation.

    "The last couple of days I've tried to fine tune my fitness as much as possible," said Devolder. "These past few weeks I've been working so I can be 100 percent on Sunday. I'm fine physically and mentally I feel fresh and calm.

    "In my opinion the race favourites are the three riders who made it to the podium in Harelbeke, meaning [Fabian] Cancellara, [Tom] Boonen and [Juan Antonio] Flecha. But as always there will be other riders to watch out for. Both Tom and I have a chance at winning this race for the third time. But I don't want think about it; I just want to have a great race."

    Meanwhile, HTC-Columbia is taking a squad with the form to cause an upset. Recent Gent-Wevelgem winner Bernhard Eisel will ride alongside Mark Cavendish and 2009 Paris-Brussels winner Matt Goss. Hayden Roulston is back in Flanders with one of his season objectives in sight.

    The big names will not only have to be strong but play 'the Flanders game' to perfection in order to be in contention, believes Quick Step directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters. "I think the route will be very selective," he said. "I don't think there will be many riders left at the wall in Grammont. The wind is also going to be a major factor."

    Quick Step: Carlos Barredo, Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Stijn Devolder,...

  • Van Hummel sprinting into form for Scheldeprijs

    All smiles for local boy Kenny Van Hummel before the start.
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 10:16 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Skil-Shimano sprinter to skip Tour of Flanders

    Kenny van Hummel is hopeful a third placed finish on stage two of the Three Days of De Panne is a signal he is ready for an expected sprint finish at Scheldeprijs-Vlaanderen next Wednesday.

    The Dutchman will skip this weekend's Tour of Flanders to ensure he is ready for the midweek semi-Classic, at which he finished second in 2009.

    After his podium finish in De Panne's morning stage, Van Hummel finished 72nd in De Panne's afternoon individual time trial, 2:20 behind stage and overall winner David Millar (Garmin-Transitions). He told Cyclingnews that he had been forced to do more work than intended with windy conditions continuing on the Belgian coast.

    "I was thinking about doing it easy, but there was so much wind so I couldn't relax," he said. "But I'm happy with this morning - my form is building for Scheldeprijs."

    Three hours earlier, the Skil-Shimano sprinter had finished third behind stage victor Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) and his own teammate, Robert Wagner. He said Skil-Shimano's eventual second and third places had been made possible by the work of another team

    "Coming into the finale Robert said, 'We'll go for you in the sprint', but I said to him, 'No, no, no... next week is my turn'. We were ready to work for each other in the sprint, but Vacansoleil did a really good lead-out for [Borut] Bozic, so we were both in a good position and could both sprint."

    Although the Skil-Shimano pair was unable to overcome Farrar, Van Hummel was pleased to have finished ahead of some strong sprint rivals, including Robbie McEwen (Katusha).

    "I had a lot of power in the sprint and that was the first time this year. I came from sixth place and passed some guys in the final metres," he said.

    His third place result was the latest improvement in a recent run of top-five finishes. Last year, Van Hummel finished second to Alessandro Petacchi at Scheldeprijs, having recorded an eighth place finish...

  • Pozzato confirmed for Flanders

    Italian champion Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) awaits the start of stage two.
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 11:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian champion recovered from flu-like symptoms which forced him out of De Panne

    Filippo Pozzato will definitely ride the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, according to his team. Katusha directeur sportif Jef Braeckevelt confirmed to the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws that the Italian champion would be there, despite physical problems earlier in the week. However, it is not yet known whether Serguei Ivanov will be recovered enough to race.

    Pozzato dropped out of the second stage of the Three Days of De Panne on Wednesday, after doing poorly on the first day. The team reported that he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. After a light training on Thursday, it was reported that he was getting better and would ride on Sunday.

    Ivanov has been suffering from diarrhoea for several days and his appearance on Sunday is still up in the air.