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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, April 30, 2010

Date published:
April 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Vuelta celebrates 75th birthday today

    The 2010 Vuelta a España route map
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 11:10 BST
    Peter Cossins

    First Tour of Spain started on April 29, 1935

    It is 75 years to the day since the first edition of the Vuelta a España started in Madrid. At eight in the morning on April 29, 1935, a peloton of 50 riders set out from the centre of the Spanish capital on a 185km stage that was won by Belgium's Antoine Digneff.

    There were reported to be as many as 20,000 fans waiting to greet the riders on the Puerto del León climb that first day of the Tour of Spain. The race's popularity continued throughout the 14 stages, with up to 100,000 people estimated to have turned out to welcome the 29 riders who finished on May 15. Victory in that first edition went to another of the Belgian riders, Gustave Deloor, as the main Spanish hopefuls, including the three Trueba brothers, were beset by bad luck.

    The event came about when Spanish aristocrat and former athlete Clemente López Dóriga persuaded Juan Pujol, director of the daily paper Informaciones, to back the race.

    Spanish king Juan Carlos is marking the anniversary by hosting a reception in Madrid's Zarzuela palace. As well as Vuelta director-general Javier Guillén, a host of Spain's Vuelta greats will be attending including Federico Bahamontes, Julio Jiménez, Pedro Delgado, Melchor Mauri and Abraham Olano, who now oversees route planning for the race.

    "It provides us with particular satisfaction that the king is receiving us on the same day that the first stage started," said Guillén.

  • Operación Grial continues

    Jesus Manzano Photo: © Daniel Schamps
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 12:34 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish press says Kelme doctor Virú kept key files

    Investigators from Spain's Guardia Civil working on the Operación Grial doping investigation focused on ex-Kelme team doctor Walter Virú are reported to have uncovered files that bring to light new evidence of widespread doping at Kelme between 2001 and 2004.

    According to a story in Wednesday's edition of Spanish daily El Público, the Guardia Civil's investigators have discovered half a dozen files containing around 30 documents detailing the names of Kelme riders and listing medicines they had received, the doses supplied, the dates on which they were administered, and the competitions for which they were intended to boost performance.

    The documents are reported to have been found during a search of Virú's country home in November last year. They are said to provide a very detailed account of activities within the Kelme team between 2001 and 2004. El Público reported that the riders' identities are not hidden behind code names as they were during the Operación Puerto investigation. It was also reported that some of this evidence has been passed on to
    Antonio Serrano, the Madrid judge who headed the Puerto investigation.

    Spanish sports daily AS reported at the tail-end on last year that "Virú had held on to documents from the Kelme team" and added that "some of them could refer to riders who are still competing". AS requested a comment from Spain's Commission for Sport (CSD) on the story, but was told that it could not comment during an ongoing investigation.

    The Grial investigation has already resulted in one high-profile Spanish athlete being banned from competition. Walker Paquillo Fernández, an Olympic silver medallist and three times a world championship runner-up, has been banned for two years having admitted to the use and possession of EPO. Fernández's home was searched and EPO found after the Guardia Civil had spent time following him and tapping his...

  • Sinkewitz still hopes for new team

    Patrik Sinkewitz (PSK Whirlpool) is marked by Skil-Shimano
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 13:54 BST
    Cycling News

    German ready to race, but still no team for this season

    Patrik Sinkewitz won Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2007, but this year he will be watching the race, now called Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt on the television. He still has not found a team for the 2010 season.

    “I would very much have liked to be in Frankfurt. But the situation is as it is,” he told the German news agency SID. “I have to accept it.”

    Sinkewitz was suspended for one year after testing positive in June 2007 for testosterone. He received a reduced statement after co-operating with authorities and disclosing his doping practices.
    However, this cooperation may have cost him his future in the peloton. Last year he rode for the Professional Continental Team PSK-Whirlpool, and noted his colleague's reaction when he won a stage in the Sachsen Tour, before going on to take the overall title.

    “I could feel a certain contempt from the other riders, but I also have friends in the peloton,” Sinkewitz said. When asked if he regretted his confession and explanations, he answered only, “It doesn't help to look back. If I hadn't done it, I would have been suspended until the end of April this year.”

    The 29-year-old continues to train and says he could “race again immediately.” However, all of his contacts with teams this year have come to nothing. “I am far away from giving up hope for a new team. There are still discussions. I hope that everything will still end well.” And if not this year, then he still holds out hope for a new team in 2011.

  • Greipel to lead HTC-Columbia in Giro d'Italia

    André Greipel (HTC - Columbia) celebrates his victory in stage five of the Tour of Turkey.
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 14:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Sprinter looks to build on success from Vuelta a España

    Top sprinter Andre Greipel will lead HTC-Columbia in the Giro d'Italia next month, looking to continue his Grand Tour successes. In last year's Vuelta a España, the German won four stages and took the points competition.

    The US-based team also features Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti, who this week won the prologue of the Tour de Romandie. Pinotti has experience with Giro victories, having won the closing time trial in 2008.

    Swiss rider Michael Albasini, who last year won the Österreich Rundfahrt, will be the team's man for the mountains. Matthew Goss will lead out the sprints for Greipel.

    Greipel has raced the Giro once before, in 2008. He was leading the sprints that year for teammate Mark Cavendish, and won one stage himself. He would not comment on this year's race, telling Cyclingnews that he had decided not to give any more interviews before the start of the event.

    HTC-Columbia for the Giro d'Italia: Michael Albasini, Matthew Goss, Andre Greipel, Adam Hansen, Craig Lewis, Marco Pinotti, Frantisek Rabon, Vicente Reynes, and Marcel Sieberg.

  • Cervélo announces Giro roster

    Spaniard Carlos Sastre (Cervélo)
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 14:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Maintains its successful 2009 formula

    With the first Grand Tour of 2010 just nine days away, teams are in their last preparations for the Giro d'Italia starting in Amsterdam on Saturday, May 8. The Cervélo TestTeam has announced its nine riders to tackle the challenges of the 3,418km-long road taking the riders from the Netherlands to Italy's Verona, with the legendary mountains Monte Zoncolan, Plan de Corones and the Gavia Pass along the way. According to the team, "this year’s route will be ideal for expert climbers and resistance riders."

    Without a doubt, Cervélo's goal will again be the overall victory for Carlos Sastre, with stage wins also highly appreciated. The squad has not changed much of its successful formula since last year.

    "In fact, half of our team roster is the same as last year. This is very important because we will arrive at this year’s Giro d’Italia with a more experienced team, ready to give our best," explained Sports Director Alex Sans Vega.

    "Our team roster was selected with the goal of providing the strongest support for our leader Carlos Sastre who came third in last years' Giro, and winning two stages. In addition we also had two other stage victories, notably in the final time trial with Ignatas Konovalovas who is again on this year’s roster. We are ready and optimistic and very much looking forward to participating in this year's Giro."

    Sastre himself confirmed this. "Last year I had a great time at the Giro d’Italia and I want to go back," he said. "The fact that I haven’t won the Giro gives me special motivation, and this year's route is very attractive for a rider with my characteristics."

    The Cervélo TestTeam for the 2010 Giro d’Italia is: Iñigo Cuesta, Volodimir Gustov, Ted King, Ignatas Konovalovas, Daniel Lloyd, Gabriel Rasch, Carlos Sastre, Xavier Tondo and Marcel Wyss. Reserve riders are Davide Appollonio and Stefan Denifl.

  • Danielson on form for Tour of California

    Tom Danielson (Garmin-Slipstream) during the 2009 Vuelta a Espana
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 17:05 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Tour of the Gila offers good prep

    Tom Danielson showed that he is on target for next month's Amgen Tour of California with a strong performance in the SRAM Tour of the Gila on Wednesday.

    The Garmin-Transitions rider, taking part in the national event under the DZ Nuts team, claimed second place, a mere 10 seconds behind stage winner Levi Leipheimer on the notoriously steep finishing 10-kilometre long ascent to Mogollon.

    Danielson hopes to put forth an equally strong performance is Friday's stage three time trial and keep his place in the overall classification.

    "For me it's important to prove to myself, that I can be up there with those guys and I proved that today," Tom Danielson told Cyclingnews. "I hope to have a really good time trial in a couple of days."

    "I would really like to give the overall a shot, I'd be a fool not to," he added. "I've done quite a few months here is Silver City with Team Garmin-Slipstream, every year we've had a big training camp."

    Friday's stage three Dan Potts Memorial Tyrone Individual Time Trial is sure to shake up the overall with a 25-km grueling out and back race against the clock. Last year Leipheimer increased his lead in the overall classification by winning the event in a time of 32.59.

    "I've done a lot of time trial training this month and I hope to improve it," Danielson said. "We will see because Levi is one of the best in the world and he's a great indicator to see where we are at. I just keep working hard and worrying about myself and how good I can go and hopefully be ready for the Tour of California."

    Garmin-Transitions have three riders participating in the race this week as a tune-up for the Amgen Tour. Dave Zabriskie, Tom Danielson and Tom Peterson are represented under Zabriskie's company DZ Nuts as they are prevented by UCI rules from participating in a national event under their ProTour team.

    "It's fantastic because it really sharpens you up," Danielson said. "It's a race that is...

  • Hincapie star attraction at Breakaway Ride in California

    George Hincapie addresses the riders and spectators at the start
    Article published:
    April 29, 2010, 19:38 BST
    Bruce Hildenbrand

    Enthusiasts test Amgen Tour stage two

    George Hincapie was the star attraction at the second Breakaway Ride presented by Specialized which saw over 800 riders complete one of three routes in Northern California on Sunday April 25th.

    The event, a charity fundraiser for Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiatives, raised over $55,000. The first Breakaway Ride on April 11th in the Los Angeles area raised over $40,000.

    Over 250 cyclists rode either a 22 or 55 mile route in the Sonoma County starting and ending in Santa Rosa. Almost 600 riders took the opportunity to ride the course of Stage 2 of the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, a 113-mile test with 7500 feet of climbing from Davis to Santa Rosa. The route included two difficult ascents Oakville Grade at mile 87 and Trinity Grade at mile 90.

    Oakville Grade is only one mile long, but it averages over 12% and has stretches up to 16%. Trinity is longer at three miles but is a bit less steep with grades between 8 and 10%. Both these climbs were timed and the male and female riders with the lowest elapsed time for both climbs were awarded King and Queen of the Mountain honors.

    Not surprisingly, George Hincapie was the King of the Mountain for the men with Tanja Tamguney of San Francisco the winner of the Queen of the Mountain.

    Hincapie, fresh from his Spring Classics campaign led the riders out of Davis on a perfect day that saw both Andrew Messick, President of AEG Sports which owns the the Amgen Tour of California and race director Jim Birrell ride the full distance between Davis and Santa Rosa. It was great to see the two men most responsible for America's premier stage race not only talking the talk, but walking the walk as well.

    With almost $100,000 raised for Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiatives the two Breakaway Rides were not only a lot of fun for the 1600 plus participants, but of great benefit to the cancer community as well.

  • Giro start a dream for Australia’s Porte

    One of Saxo Bank's newest recruits Richie Porte gets to grips with his new time trial machine
    Article published:
    April 30, 2010, 8:16 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Neo-professional hoping to make a Grand Tour break

    The roads that the famed Giro d’Italia will travel next month are a long way from those in Tasmanian where Richie Porte trained in his early cycling days. Yet Porte said it will still feel like home, with the rider making his Grand Tour debut at the event after being named in Saxo Bank’s team roster.

    “I am really looking forward to my first Grand Tour,” he told Cyclingnews. “For me the Giro is important as Italy is really where my cycling career started, so when the race gets down into Tuscany it will feel almost like home roads.”

    Despite being a strong general classification squad, Saxo Bank will line up in Amsterdam on May 8 without any of its big overall contenders. That will see riders like Porte working for sprint finishes instead, with fellow Australian Baden Cooke hopeful of seeing a return to Grand Tour glory.

    “We suffered a bit of bad luck when Chris Anker Sorensen broke his collarbone in a crash thus ruling out out general classification hopes but on paper we have a young team but hopefully we can animate the race at some stage,” said Porte. “If I play my cards well I would love to be able to fight for a stage win somewhere but realistically I will be going there to improve as a bike rider, I know I will be suffering in the latter part of the race.”

    Professional cycling has been a steep learning curve for Porte, something he expects will continue at next month’s Giro. The Tasmanian only started focusing on cycling in 2006 at the age of 21, a relatively late start, having previously focused on triathlons.

    “A successful Grand Tour debut for me will be to come out of the race as a better rider,” he added. “It would be nice to have a go in a stage, if I can be in a move in the final week I will think of it as a successful debut.”

    Porte will have just a handful of days off between the Tour de Romandie, where...