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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 14, 2009

Date published:
August 14, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • UCI diploma will be required for all ProTour Sporting Directors

    Team Sky's Scott Sunderland will be helping his fellow Sporting Directors gain the UCI diploma. He will be a lecturer in some of the programme's modules.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2009, 12:34 BST
    Richard Tyler

    UCI Academy's inaugural programme to start in November

    By 2015 the Sports Directors of all ProTour and Professional Continental cycling teams will be required to possess a management diploma endorsed by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The announcement of the qualification requirement came as the UCI launched the inaugural "Turning Passion into Performance" programme on Wednesday.

    "The programme launched today represents an important step forward for the UCI ProTour with its objective of promoting excellence in cycling over all five continents," said the UCI's ProTour manager, Alain Rumpf. "The UCI Academy's initiative offers an opportunity for directeurs sportifs to become even more professional and in this way will allow cycling as a whole to continue to progress."

    The UCI said by 2013 prospective sports directors of ProTour teams would require the diploma programme, with their colleagues at Pro Continental squads given until 2015 to complete the training.

    Rumpf told Cyclingnews on Thursday that the deadlines also applied to those currently serving as sporting directors on professional teams. "That is why we have given a six-year window, so that every directeur sportif will have the opportunity to complete the course," he said. "After that, all new directeurs will have to have completed it before being issued a managers licence by the UCI."

    The first of the training programmes will begin in November and is being conducted by the UCI's own education division, the UCI Academy, and Manchester Business School. Participants in the programme will be trained in both UCI regulations and specific team management skills. Topic covered will include sporting, technical and anti-doping regulations, as well as budgetary control, athlete supervision and human resources.

    "The UCI Academy actively supports initiatives that contribute to the long-term development of cycling around the world," said Chris Solly, the Director of the UCI Academy. "The training programme for...

  • Preliminary Vuelta a España startlist announced

    Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    August 13, 2009, 13:55 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Sánchez number one as Valverde, Danielson, Basso and Schlecks prepare for battle

    Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic announced a preliminary startlist for the Grand Tour on Thursday. Olympic road race champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is expected to start the race bearing the number 1 dossard.

    Unipublic have announced preliminary line-ups for each of the 20 teams invited to the race, although with up to four reserves listed under each squad, these will be subject to change before the race starts in Assen, The Netherlands on August 29.

    Irrespective of his bib number, Sánchez will be one of the favourites for the general classification title for this year's Vuelta. He finished third overall in 2007 and skipped the Tour de France this year in favour of his home race. Alejandro Valverde has been marked as leader of Caisse d'Epargne and is another rider anxious to improve on a career-best second place.

    A number of foreign riders will also be hunting for the overall title. Tom Danielson's recent performance at the Vuelta a Burgos will see him lead a Garmin squad that also includes Dan Martin and David Millar, who will be starting his third Grand Tour this year.

    Italian Ivan Basso will lead Liquigas while Saxo Bank's Schleck brothers will back up after last month's Tour de France. Alexandre Vinokourov's ongoing negotiations with Astana mean he has been listed as a reserve for the squad, although American Chris Horner and German Andreas Klöden are both indicated as likely starters.

    The race will also be an important test for a strong selection of sprinters taking part. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will hope to improve significantly on his Tour de France performance, but will face stiff competition. Andre Greipel (Columbia-HTC) is likely to be the man to beat, while Tyler Farrar (Garmin) and Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram) have shown consistent recent form.

    Daniele Bennati wore the...

  • Rumpf rules out calendar changes for Worlds and Vuelta

    You never know what you'll see when racing in the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2009, 15:35 BST
    Shane Stokes

    No plans to revert to old dates

    UCI ProTour manager Alain Rumpf has said that there are no plans to rearrange major end of season races on the calendar. This comes despite US media suggestions earlier this week that both the Vuelta and world championships would revert to previous time slots in April and August, and that the Spanish race would be shortened to two weeks.

    “There is nothing like that planned at the moment,” said Rumpf to Cyclingnews on Thursday. “I was surprised to see the story, where Lance Armstrong was quoted as saying that would happen. This [moving to April] has been stated a couple of times by the Vuelta themselves, but the UCI has never received an official request for that.

    “Frankly, we have never discussed that, even informally, with the Vuelta people or with ASO, who basically now own the Vuelta. It has never been on the agenda at any meeting with them.”

    In 1995, both the Vuelta a España and world road race championships changed from their traditional time slots until later in the year. The reason for the shift was the lopsided season which was then in place, with each of the Grand Tours plus the worlds taking place before the end of August.

    The old calendar made for a very crowded first half of the year, difficulties in keeping riders motivated post-Worlds, and also an often-poor field for the Vuelta.

    Most of the calls for a change in dates focus on this latter point, as many big names continue to avoid the Spanish race or use it simply to prepare for the world championships. But, as Cyclingnews discussed last year, the problem of attendance was already in existence prior to the calendar move.

    Rumpf is convinced that the current structure is the right one. “The reason why it is good to have the championships at the end of the season is because it makes the season...

  • No McEwen in Vattenfall

    Robbie McEwen after January's Down Under Classic, before misfortune and consequent injury hit his season.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2009, 21:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian plans to re-start season at Eneco Tour

    Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen will not defend his title in the Vattenfall Cyclassics ProTour race in Hamburg, Germany this weekend. The Katusha rider is still recovering from a fractured tibia sustained in the Tour of Belgium in May.

    McEwen said that he is not ready to race this weekend, but will start the Eneco Tour in the Netherlands on August 18. However, he would wait until the last screw was removed from his leg before making more progress.

    McEwen made his return to competition last month in a post-Tour criterium in Aalst, Belgium after two months of recovery from his injury.

    He suffered a nearly career-ending crash in the second stage of the Tour of Belgium at the end of May. He ran into a metal road sign with his left knee which sliced into the ligaments and fractured the shin bone just below his knee.

    After a successful surgery to repair the damage, he began training three weeks later on the road.


  • Armstrong moots Hincapie move to The Shack

    George Hincapie (Team Columbia-Highroad) on the start line.
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 7:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Old sparring partners could be reunited in 2010

    Lance Armstrong has neither confirmed nor denied speculation that countryman George Hincapie will join him at the RadioShack squad next season. Hincapie was an integral part of Armstrong's seven Tour de France wins and a move to the new team would see the pair back together in 2010.

    Speaking to Outside magazine online, Armstrong didn't hide the fact that Hincapie could be riding in his team next season. When asked: "Who are you bringing with you to the RadioShack team? What about George Hincapie?" The reply was an ambiguous, "He’s already committed. Has been since before we got our funding."

    It's unclear whether the American was indicating Hincapie's willingness to join the squad or that he was committed to another outfit.

    Armstrong was also cryptic about the possibility of Astana teammates Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden coming across to ride for 'The Shack'.

    Speaking in relation to his chances of beating Contador in 2010, Armstrong said, "Assuming I had guys like Levi and [Andreas] Klöden - guys like that, you can play. But with a guy like Alberto, you can play all you want and you won’t win."

    Recently there was talk of Hincapie and Leipheimer possibly lining up for the BMC Racing Team in 2010, although the former wouldn't comment on the likelihood of his joining ths US-based Pro Continental outfit.

  • Van Goolen to leave Saxo Bank at end of season

    Jurgen Van Goolen (Saxo Bank) is unhappy with his end of season racing schedule
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 8:21 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian upset with planned racing schedule

    Jurgen Van Goolen will leave Team Saxo Bank the end of this season and is looking for a new team, after disagreeing with the Danish team about his racing schedule.

    "This year I won't ride the Vuelta,“ he told Het Nieuwsblad. "I have not yet received a word of explanation, but the situation is clear. My agent is looking for another team.“

    The 28-year-old will ride the Belgian national time trial championships this weekend, and the Eneco Tour next week. "Then my season is already over,“ he said.

    He doesn't understand why he is not racing more now. "Everyone knows that I ride very well at this time of year. I proved it last year, when I was 16th in the Vuelta a España and 11th in the World championships."

    Van Goolen turned pro in 2002 with Domo-Farm Frites. He rode for Quick Step from 2003 to 2005, Discovery Channel from 2006 to 2007 and then joined Team CSC, now Saxo Bank.

  • Rabobank play down expectation of Vuelta podium for Gesink

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 11:30 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch rider still recovering from broken wrist, Boom gunning for prologue

    The Vuelta a España will start out with a definite Dutch flavour this year, with the first three stages taking place within the borders of The Netherlands. Rabobank hopes to take advantage of the 'home-town start' and will look to road racing newcomer Lars Boom to do well in the opening prologue, but warned this week that captain Robert Gesink won't be aiming for a podium place.

    The Vuelta opens on Saturday, August 29, with a prologue on the Assen motorcycle grand prix course. The next two stages stay in the country, and the fourth stage starts in Venlo and ends in Liege, Belgium, before an early rest day on which the peloton will transfer to Spain.

    Gesink will be the team's captain for the race, but is still recovering from a broken wrist suffered in a crash during stage five of the Tour de France. "I saw he was not too disappointed after his fall in the Tour," said Rabobank Directeur Sportif Erik Breukink, at a press conference this week. "I think that even as he was suffering to finish that stage he was thinking of the Vuelta. That is typical of Robert, he is always looking ahead."

    The young Dutch rider last year finished seventh overall in the Vuelta, and established himself as one of the race's top climbers. Breukink said it "would be nice" if the 23-year-old could win a mountain stage this year. "At the same time Robert really knows that no one gives anything away. The others know him too well for that. Robert is just one of the best climbers in the Vuelta."

    He does not expect to see Gesink on the final podium, though. "That's too much to ask," he said. "But surprises can always happen, of course. Let him surprise us."

    Another 23-year-old Dutch rider will this year be making his Grand Tour debut, Lars Boom. The current cyclo-cross World Champion has already established himself on the road, winning the Tour of Belgium earlier this summer. He will be concentrating on the prologue, as well as...

  • Contador favours move to Caisse d'Epargne

    These youngsters don't have too much trouble getting Contador's signature, but which team will get the big one?
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 11:36 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Teaming with Alonso not ruled out, Quick Step throw their hat in the ring

    Alberto Contador has described a possible move to Caisse d'Epargne as the most attractive of several transfer offers made to the two-time Tour de France winner. He told Spanish press agency EFE on Thursday that while he continues to consider his options, Eusebio Unzué's squad would be capable of supporting his ambitions.

    "I feel [that Caisse d'Epargne] is a very good option," Contador said. "But we need to discuss my contractual conditions before we reach any agreement. At the moment there are some difficulties to overcome [before it could happen], but as an option it is the most attractive."

    Despite claiming his second Tour de France victory in July, Contador has had a turbulent season at current team, Astana. He is contracted to the Kazakh squad for another year, but has already expressed his desire to break free and leave the squad at the end of the current season. Last month he turned down a lucrative contract-extension offer from Astana and has publicly stated the importance of moving to a team where he would be supported as sole leader.

    "Eusebio Unzué has plenty of experience," said Contador on Thursday. "[Caisse d'Epargne] is a team that knows the mentality of working for a leader and from a sporting point of view is interesting."

    Unzué has been a pivotal figure in the careers of some of Spanish cycling's greatest champions. Since the 1990s he has worked with riders such as José María Jiménez, Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain. He has played a part of eight Grand Tour wins, including Indurain's two Giro d'Italia and five Tour de France titles.

    Although Contador did not reveal the names of squads interested in his signature, he acknowledged that offers from other teams had also been made, which he would continue to consider. The 26-year-old has still not ruled out the formation a new Spanish team, supported by Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso.

    "I have...