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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 13, 2010

Date published:
August 13, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Devolder primed for Belgian time trial championship

    Stijn Devolder with his championship medal
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 17:56 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Monfort and Cornu to ride Worlds TT for Belgium

    Stijn Devolder (Quick Step) is aiming to add the Belgian time trial championship to the road title he already holds when he rolls down the start ramp in Habey-la-Neuve this Sunday. Devolder soloed to victory in the road race championship in June to salvage what has been a mixed season for him and now he has his eyes fixed on a unique double.

    Nobody has ever taken both titles in the same year since the inception of the Belgian time trial championship in 1997. Devolder is already the only man to have worn the Belgian champion’s jersey in each discipline, having won the time trial event in 2008, the year after he took his first road race title, and he believes the 46km course will suit him.

    “I like the route,” said Devolder, who will ride for Vacansoleil in 2011. “I won't deny that it would be a dream to wear the Belgian championship jersey on both the road and in the time trial.”

    “My build-up to this race has been perfect. I hope I can find the right sensations and rhythm from the first kilometres and then just have a bit of good luck."

    The dual Tour of Flanders winner finished in fourth place last time around behind champion Maxime Monfort (HTC-Columbia), who will also take part on Sunday.

    Indeed, Monfort and last year’s bronze medallist Dominique Cornu (Skil-Shimano) have already been confirmed as Belgium’s representatives in the time trial at the World Championships in Melbourne as Devolder has already opted out of the event so as to concentrate on the road race.

    "I’ll make the official announcement on Monday, but there are no other candidates," said Belgian team manager Carlo Bomans, speaking to Het Nieuwsblad. “Devolder would rather do the road race and moreover, he’s due to ride the Vuelta until the end, which is too close to the time trial, especially when it’s at the other side of the world.”

    Bomans also noted that...

  • Kersten aims to defend US Pro Criterium victory

    Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia), center, seeks a repeat victory at the US Pro Criterium Championship this weekend.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2010, 21:35 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Fly V Australia recruits American Zachary Davies

    Jonathan Cantwell may have a series of consecutive victories under his belt but his Fly V Australia team will ride in full support of the defending champion Ben Kersten at the US Pro Criterium Championship held in Glencoe, Illinois on Saturday.

    "We are bringing Benny back to defend his victory," said Fly V Australia's technical director Ed Beamon. "As the defending champion we pushed to make sure we had a team there. It is a big market in Chicago, an important race on the American calendar, we have a great criterium team and we should be there. We are also bringing the guys who can capitalize on the title."

    The US Pro Criterium Championship has a long history of bolstering the peloton with international riders and teams. It is recognized as a dual event allowing foreign riders to participate alongside the Americans whereby the first American rider to cross the line will win the prestigious stars and stripes jersey of national champion.

    Last year, Kersten won the bunch sprint to take the race victory ahead of American John Murphy (BMC Racing) who claimed the US title. Murphy is currently racing at the Tour de l'Ain in France and will not be competing in the championship event.

    "We had a hard decision deciding whether or not to send a team based on the fact that it wasn't an American team and the race is the US National Championships," Beamon said. "My feeling is that as a championship and a big criterium, maybe even the best, then the best criterium riders in the world need to be there. It has always added luster to the race to have an international field because you get those crit riders, who may or may not be American, bringing the level of the racing up.

    "Having guys there like the Borrajo brothers [Alejandro and Anibal], the Clarke brothers [Hilton and Jonny], the [Karl] Menzies, the [Jonathan] Cantwells, the [Ben] Kerstens and the [David] Veilleuxs, having those guys there makes it that much more of an accomplishment...

  • Louder aims for another Utah title

    Jeffry Louder (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 2:30 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    BMC Racing flies high for preparatory camp

    The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is the only non-UCI event that the BMC Racing team is scheduled to participate in this year; however, Jeff Louder has made it his priority to capture a second overall title at the six-stage race starting August 17 in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah.

    "It is a race that's very important to me personally," Louder told Cyclingnews. "It's in my home state and one of two races I will be competing in the US - road nationals being the other. I see it as a great opportunity to go for a result in front of my friends and family and I'm taking my preparation very seriously.

    "I am starting the race with the general classification in mind," he continued. "I've been on the podium the last three editions of the race and I am starting this race with the expectation of being there again."

    Louder won the overall title in 2008 with help of his BMC Racing teammates. He has a long history with the event, having placed third in the 2006 and 2009 editions. This time around Louder will be supported by US national champion George Hincapie, Brent Bookwalter, Chad Beyer and Simon Zahner.

    Prior to the event's start date, the BMC Racing team will spend several days training atop the peaks of nearby Park City to acclimate to the challenging high altitude.

    "I've been home from Europe for about two weeks and have been doing what I can to adapt to the altitude, climate and climbing since I've been back," said Louder.

    "I had the fortune of being able to stay at 8,000 feet last week and the BMC Racing Team is staging a camp in Park City this week, so I think I'll be well prepared. During the BMC camp, we will look at the key stages and use the time together to focus on the race."

    The Tour of Utah is branded as America's toughest stage race because it passes the Rocky Mountain's Wasatch Range surrounding Salt Lake City...

  • Ceramica Flaminia announces Riccò contract termination

    Riccardo Riccò (Ceramica Flaminia) is in pain after his first win
    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 6:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Updated: Riccò signs with Quick Step but Vuelta ride in doubt

    Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone has officially announced the departure of Riccardo Riccò from the ranks of his Professional Continental squad and the controversial Italian rider has revealed he has signed a contract with the Quick Step team.

    Despite losing the team’s best rider, Marrone wished Riccò all the best for the future."We are delighted and proud of the revival of Riccardo at high levels. We thank him for successes achieved by wearing our jersey, said Marrone. "Now we wish him the best in winning more and more important races."

    Riccò revealed that Vacansoleil and Movistar (who will replace Caisse d’Epargne as main sponsor of Eusebio Unzue’s team in 2011) had made him good offers but he opted to sign with Patrick Lefevere’s Belgian-based Quick Step team. Now he hopes to ride the Vuelta Espana that begins in Seville on August 28.

    “We’ve done it! It was like giving birth but I’m back in big time cycling,” Riccò said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

    I’ve signed a one-year contract with Quick Step and I’m sure I’ve done the right thing because Lefevere’s team is one of the top three or four in the sport and I can get back to riding the biggest races in the sport.”

    Riccò wants to ride the Vuelta but it seems entry deadlines and UCI rules mean he will have to race elsewhere unless he is given special dispensation to ride.

    “I don’t know when I’ll make my debut but I can race straight away,” Riccò said.

    “I’d really like to ride the Vuelta. It’d be good for me and the team. I wouldn’t target the GC but I think I could do well in a couple of stages. I haven’t ridden a three-week stage race since the 2008 Giro d’Italia but if I can ride in Spain, we’d all have some fun."

     

    ...
  • No more illusions for Di Gregorio

    Rémi Di Gregorio was unfortunate to puncture at the bottom of the Mont Salève but he climbed really well after a wheel change.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 8:16 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Is time running out for FDJ climber?

    Rémy Di Gregorio, hailed as the new Richard Virenque when he stepped up into the pro ranks in 2005 at age 19, has admitted the expectations laid on his shoulders made him lose track of his commitment. Ever since the 2008 Tour de France stage from Pau to Hautacam, where he revealed his talent to the general public on the Tourmalet, the FDJ rider has been aiming to confirm, but the praise he received made him forget to work hard enough.

    "Looking back, the stage to Hautacam did not serve me well," the Marseille native told L'Equipe before starting the Tour de l'Ain on Thursday. "It got me excited; I took things for granted and I didn't work out hard enough in the six months after it. I wasn't ready to live up to it, the expectations on my behalf were excessive."

    This season, Di Gregorio felt he did everything right but he is still looking for that final touch of luck that would bring him success. "This year, I really put the blinkers on and lived only for cycling," he continued. "I did every race at 100 per cent, without thinking of tomorrow. But I missed out on opportunities. At the Tour of the Basque Country, I got caught at two kilometres from the finish."

    The Tour de France was not a good one for the 25-year-old, either. "I came to the Tour feeling just a tad less fresh," he explained.

    FDJ directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud added that Di Gregorio is now a marked man, which makes his task even more difficult. "He is more watched by the peloton now," Bricaud commented. "There's no surprise effect any more. In order to win, he has to be stronger than the rest now."

    Having learned from his mistakes, Di Gregorio hopes that his work will pay off soon - perhaps at the Vuelta a Espana, in which he will participate for the third time. The Frenchman needs to show that he has gained maturity, as his contract with FDJ is running out at the end of the season.

    "I've disappointed many people," he said. "I want to...

  • Unzue targets Contador for Movistar

    Tour champion Alberto Contador relishes his victory.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 10:28 BST
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish team boss has Tour de France winner in his sights for 2013

    The news that Telefónica is set to re-enter cycling as a major sponsor in 2011 has provided a huge boost for Spain’s pro cycling scene. By stepping in with their Movistar mobile phone network to replace Caisse d’Epargne, the Spanish telecommunications giant has not only saved the longest-standing pro outfit in the sport, but has raised the prospect of a new national super-team developing comprising many of Spain’s biggest talents, including Alberto Contador.

    Team manager Eusebio Unzue, who has been with the squad since the Pedro Delgado and Miguel Induráin years, has said that his first goal for the new team will be signing up many of the riders on Caisse d’Epargne’s current roster. “We hope that next year we will be able to count on the nucleus of what has been this season’s Caisse d’Epargne team, with David Arroyo and, probably, Luis León Sánchez, and in 2012 we will have Alejandro Valverde with us again,” Unzue told El País.

    He added: “Of course it is still my goal to sign Alberto Contador. This year our sponsorship deal came too late as Contador had already committed himself to Bjarne Riis, but in 2013 he will be free again.”

    The budget for the Movistar team will be around six million euros, which is a drop in the ocean for Telefónica, which recently announced profits of almost four billion euros. Some of that budget has already been earmarked for the signing of Euskaltel’s Beñat Intxausti and Quick Step’s Branislau Samoilau.

    El País reports that high-level political influence was brought to bear on Telefónica as Unzue sought backers for his team. Spanish minister of sport Jaime Lissavetzky and Mariano Rajoy, leader of the opposition PP party, are both believed to have contacted Telefónica president César Alierta. Another key figure believed to have been...

  • Ullrich victim of burnout

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    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 10:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Loses defamation suit against German anti-doping crusader

    Jan Ullrich has been diagnosed with a state of general fatigue due to too much work-related stress. The former professional rider informed the public on his personal website: "A few days ago, I was diagnosed with burnout, that will probably need a longer treatment. In order to ensure complete recovery, I will therefore stop all public appearances in the next few months."

    After his pro career, the German has taken up organising charity rides, in which he also participated. He also launched his own range of bicycles.

    Ullrich has also put much time and effort into his defense against doping allegations. Ullrich was fired from his T-Mobile Team in 2006 due to his alleged link to Eufemiano Fuentes, the doctor in the centre of Operación Puerto. A criminal investigation in Germany has established that the 1997 Tour de France winner consulted with Fuentes 24 times between 2003 and 2006 - and this was recently confirmed by his former sports director and mentor, Rudy Pevenage - but Ullrich has always maintained his innocence.

    On Friday, Ullrich also lost an appeal in front of a Hamburg court. It ruled against him, giving reason to German anti-doping expert Werner Franke, whom Ullrich had sued for defamation. Franke had alleged that Ullrich paid Fuentes at least 35,000 Euro during his professional career.

    Other court cases involving Ullrich are still ongoing.

  • One more year for Vinokourov at Astana

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) at the start
    Article published:
    August 13, 2010, 11:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kazakh rider committed to Astana for one more season

    Alexander Vinokourov has signed a one-year deal with his Kazakh team Astana. The 36-year-old will continue racing in 2011, even though he had previously indicated that this season may be his last.

    Vinokourov was handed a ban for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France. He came back in August 2009, rejoining Astana and taking victory again in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and stage 13 to Revel in this year's Tour, on top of helping his team leader Alberto Contador to achieve his third Tour title.

    With Contador off to Saxo Bank-Sungard next year and 2010 being such a successful season for his own palmarès, Vinokourov certainly feels he has one more year in him before retiring. It is not yet known who will take over team leadership but Denis Menchov, the Schleck brothers or Roman Kreuziger are all still possible new signings for the Kazakh squad.