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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 27, 2010

Date published:
August 27, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Mørkøv excluded from Vuelta over paperwork

    Michael Morkov celebrates after taking out the opening night.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 14:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Danish rider not listed as replacement on UCI start list

    Michael Mørkøv of Team Saxo Bank has been denied permission to start the Vuelta a España on Saturday. He was named too late to the Danish team's squad to be approved to take the place of injured rider Baden Cooke. It is as yet unclear as to whether Saxo Bank will instead replace Cooke with Dane Kasper Klostergaard.

    The teams must submit their roster, including reserve riders, to the International Cycling Union 20 days before the race starts. “Since I only just came into good form, I wasn't on the list,” Mørkøv told Ekstrabladet.dk. “We had bet on a waiver but the UCI would not bend the rules. It's really, really bitter.”

    “Michael has been refused permission by the World Anti-Doping Agency [sic] to start in the Vuelta because he has not been on the start list long enough,” team spokesman Allan Jorgensen confirmed to TV2Sport. “'We must take the blame ourselves since we should have known it, so the fault lies with us,” he said.

    Mørkøv tweeted angrily, “It sounds like a bad joke. I'm on my way home from the Vuelta now. WADA will not let me start because of some stupid paperwork.”

    It would have been Mørkøv's second grand tour, as he had already ridden the Giro d'Italia this year. He most recently finished fourth overall in the Tour du Limousin and 12th in the GP Ouest France-Plouay.

  • Cervélo demise leaves Bos looking for new team

    Thor Hushovd plus Theo Bos equals a fast combination.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 17:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rider agents scramble for offers

    With Cervélo looking certain to step out of the role of title sponsor of its eponymous team at the end of this season, agents representing riders like Dutchman Theo Bos are busy fielding offers from other squads looking to scoop up some of the sport's top riders.

    Bos' agent Orlando van den Bosch told NuSport that the situation at Cervélo looks serious and it's not very good for Bos. "We do not know officially where he stands," Van den Bosch said.

    Cyclingnews understands from several sources that riders from the men's team were notified yesterday via e-mail that the team would end at the conclusion of the current season. Cervélo will reportedly continue with its women's program, something they also confirmed via email to their riders.

    Bos, a 27-year-old former track world champion, made his transition to the road with Rabobank's continental team in 2009, and had signed a two-year deal with Cervélo that will not expire until the end of 2011.

    His agent did not confirm the team's demise, and emphasised that he would have to find out from the team management exactly what is going on.

    "Last year, [Bos] was deliberately chosen for this team, it looked great. With Thor Hushovd, Heinrich Haussler and Theo Bos, Cervélo had a great team, a team with a future."

    Now, Van den Bosch is tasked with negotiating new contracts, while Bos himself is preparing to start the Vuelta a Espana this weekend - his first grand tour.

    With four wins under his belt this season, Bos shouldn't have to worry about finding a team, his agent said. "I have recently had inquiries from several teams about Theo. They called me again today when the news came, and also some new teams. I have a few cards to play, but first we have to see what the situation is."

    Bos' teammates also have their agents working hard on negotiations for the coming season. Paris-Roubaix runner-up Thor...

  • Nibali aims to reproduce home form at Vuelta

    Thumbs up. Vincenzo Nibali took a great win at the Trofeo Melinda
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 21:56 BST
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Liquigas man confident after Melinda win

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) is looking to replicate his Giro d’Italia form at the Vuelta a España, which starts in Seville on Saturday. The Sicilian rider finished in third place in his home tour in May and has delivered some fine performances in the weeks leading up to the Spanish race.

    “My prospects are good but I don’t want to burden myself with too much pressure,” Nibali said. “I’d like to repeat the experience of the Giro d’Italia: give my all, day after day, without making too many calculations.”

    As well as finishing on the podium, Nibali also enjoyed a spell in the pink jersey and won a stage at the Giro. He had replaced Franco Pellizotti in the Liquigas-Doimo roster at short notice after Pellizotti’s biological passport reported abnormalities in his blood values. He had more time to plan for the Spanish tour.

    “I’ve studied the Vuelta route on the map but I’ve never ridden it before, so I’m lacking that experience,” Nibali admitted. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old has been in fine form of late and has shown strongly in the August races in Italy. “My victory at the Trofeo Melinda was an important injection of confidence,” he said.

    Roman Kreuziger will also be part of the Liquigas line-up at the Vuelta before leaving for Astana in 2011 and the Czech rider should find the climbing in Spain to his liking. “I’ll find out stage by stage what objectives to set for myself, but the desire to leave a mark on the race is strong,” he said. “The route is testing and for a climber like me it offers various chances to come to the fore.”

    Fast men Daniele Bennati and Jacopo Guarnieri will offer the team an outlet in the sprints, while Mauro Finetto, Ivan Santaromita, Maciej Paterski, Frederik Willems and Oliver Zaugg will ride in support of Nibali’s red jersey challenge.

  • Allar hopes to wrap up USA Crits title at Chris Thater Memorial

    USA Crits leader Erica Allar saved her energy for the final sprint.
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 22:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Women's series ends Saturday

    The next round of the USA Crits series will take place in Binghamton, New York this weekend, and for the women it will be the season finale as Erica Allar battles Tiffany Pezzulo for the overall title.

    Allar, winner of the Best Young Rider classification last year is now 110 points ahead of Pezzulo with only this weekend's Chris Thater Memorial Criterium remaining.

    "I am honoured to be in the lead heading into such a classic event as the Chris Thater Memorial," said Allar. "I was ecstatic to be able to follow all of the events on the series, and I am looking forward to finishing the series at Thater and defending my lead."

    Her lead may sound expansive, but with 250 points on the line for a win, Pezzulo is still within striking distance, and will be motivated by having the final race just a few hours from her hometown of Rochester, NY.

    "The series has been great for me," said Pezzulo. "The racing has been awesome and all the courses have offered something really unique and interesting. I am excited about being in second in the overall, and I'm looking forward to giving it everything at Thater.

    "After a disappointing race in Charlotte, I'm especially motivated to come to Thater ready to fight as hard as I can to regain the leader's jersey."

    For the men, the Chris Thater Memorial is the penultimate race in the series which ends at the Texas Tough Grand Prix in Dallas next month.

    Clayton Barrows (AXA Equitable) has only a 4 point lead over Maxxis Best Young Rider Isaac Howe (Mountain Khakis), with teammate and reigning USA CRITS Champion Mark Hekman sitting in third.

    Women's USA CRITS Leader presented by Champion System

    1. Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley)
    2. Tiffany Pezzulo (Treads.com/DFT)
    3. Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft)

    Maxxis Best Young Rider presented by Cyclingnews.com

    Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft)

    Sportsbase...

  • Cervélo confirms it will end cycling team

    blank
    Article published:
    August 26, 2010, 22:58 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Bike manufacturer to stay involved in pro cycling

    Cervélo confirmed today that it would not continue as a title sponsor for its cycling team after the end of this season. In a statement issued late Thursday, the bike manufacturer cited "certain subtle changes in the rules that govern pro cycling" which meant the team would have had to increase its budget to ensure it would be able to participate in the sport's biggest races. Cyclingnews reported yesterday that the team's future was uncertain after a number of riders were linked to Garmin-Transitions for next year.

    "This is not something with which we are comfortable," the statement said. "We were okay with the significant commitment we originally made to the team, but to increase it is not prudent."

    The press release did not directly state that it was ending both the men's and women's professional teams, but Cyclingnews understands from its sources that the women's programme will continue. Sources have confirmed that the riders were notified of the news via email on Wednesday by the team management and that the women were assured that the team would continue for next year, although Cervélo have not confirmed this.

    Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo, set up the men's Pro Continental team at the start of the 2009 season, signing 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre, Thor Hushovd and a host of other talented riders. The team had a spectacular debut season, winning stages and the green jersey in the Tour de France, stages in the Vuelta and Giro, as well as seeing Heinrich Haussler break through as a major force in one-day racing.

    The team were unique in the sense that they combined product development and brand awareness with winning as their main goals.

    The team remained Pro Continental in 2010 and were...

  • Valverde: "I have learned to live without racing"

    Alejandro Valverde won the 2008 Liège-Bastogne-Liège
    Article published:
    August 27, 2010, 7:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Suspended Spanish star looking towards the future

    Alejandro Valverde believes that an enforced break from racing has taught him to value more in life, although he knows that this year's Vuelta a España, which begins in Seville this Saturday, would have been a great chance to defend his only grand tour title.

    Now eight months into his two-year ban for involvement in the Operacion Puerto affair, Valverde spoke to Spanish sports daily Marca about the upcoming Vuelta, living without racing and what the future holds.

    He expressed regret at not being able to defend his Vuelta title. "I am sorry to be the last winner and unable to defend my win," said Valverde. "And this year there are several stages in my land, Murcia, and I'll have to settle for being there as a spectator," he said before adding about the race route: "I think I would have been good because it is not harder than last year when I won."

    But contrary to this statement the 30-year-old says he's not embittered by the whole process of expulsion from the sport from which he has made a living. "The truth is that time has passed very quickly and although change is not easy, now I have learned to live without racing and enjoy other aspects of life," he explained.

    "For the last nine years I have only trained and competed; I'm discovering that there is life beyond the bike," Valverde continued. "I have a beach house that I had only stayed in for two nights in five years - now I've been there six weeks."

    Valverde explained that he still rides and remains in good physical condition, the appeal of returning to the sport in 2012 keeping him motivated. "I train every day with my mates and they say I'm still as unbearable as always," he joked before adding, "There are still many who call me and give me encouragement."

    Although Valverde appeared composed and seemingly at peace with his current predicament in the sport, there was a little venom in the Spaniard's tail. "I think they are stealing two of my...

  • Deignan: The riders are always the last to know

    Philip Deignan (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    August 27, 2010, 9:21 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Irish rider on the end of Cervélo TestTeam

    Philip Deignan (Cervélo TestTeam) has criticised the team for the manner in which they decided to close their men’s Pro Continental outfit. The squad’s management yesterday confirmed that the team would fold at the end of the year, leaving a large proportion of their riders struggling to find teams. Deignan was notified in a team meeting two days ago.

    “We’re all pretty shocked about it,” Deignan told Cyclingnews.

    “It wasn’t something that we were expecting. We know that it was strange that there were no signings in August but the team were saying they wanted to see if they were ProTour and what the budget would be and how many riders they were going to need.

    “So we were expecting changes but I don’t think anyone was expecting the team to stop. We’re shocked and disappointed that the management have left it this late to tell everyone about it.”

    The riders at the Vuelta were called into a meeting two days ago where there fate was read out by a directeur sportif, who had been sent an email from the management.

    “We haven’t heard from them and we’ve not had any explanation. We’re all pretty disappointed. We had no explanation but the obvious reason seems down to money. But the riders are in the dark the whole time, we’re the last ones to know about these things. You hear stories and rumours but we were just trying to focus on the racing in Spain.”

    “There were a few things on the internet and two days ago we had a meeting at the Vuelta with all the staff here. The directeur here was sent an email saying the team would stop by 31st of December. So we had a meeting and that’s where we found out, so it wasn’t too long before it was made public.”

    Deignan has had a difficult season, leaving him in a less than ideal position when it comes to finding a new contract. A knee injury...

  • Lefevere criticises Seeldraeyers' lack of results and attitude

    Kevin Seeldraeyers (Quick Step) leads the best young rider classification.
    Article published:
    August 27, 2010, 10:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Young Belgian calls manager's remarks demotivating

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has criticised Kevin Seeldraeyers, saying that he is stagnating. He indicated that he would not have much more patience with the young Belgian. Seeldraeyers responded by calling the comments “demotivating”.

    "Kevin made a lot of progress in his first years with us, but now he is stagnating," Lefevere said in Het Niuewsblad. "I think it is time for him to wake up. He must also be 100 percent professional. Previously there were certain things that we let go because he was young. But you cannot keep doing it. "

    He cited Seeldraeyers' recurring stomach problems. "If a rider knows that his stomach is a weak spot, he must work on it. Johan Museeuw, for example, could not drink milk, so he drank soy milk. In the team we find that Kevin doesn't pay enough attention to these things.”

    Seeldraeyers, 23, still has another year on his contract with the Belgian ProTour team. "It's not nice to read those comments," he said. "For someone who just had a difficult season this year, it's more demotivating than motivating."

    He also added that he thinks he has found a solution for his stomach problems. "Since a few days ago it has been much better. At the suggestion of Kevin De Weert, I've been taking natural cramp inhibitors. I have almost no more trouble.”

    Seeldraeyers turned pro with Quick Step in 2007. He had a breakthrough year in 2009, winning the best young rider classification in both Paris-Nice and the Giro d'Italia. He finished seventh overall in Paris-Nice and 14th in the Giro.

    He was unable to follow up on those results this year, however. He has had no high placings and was 134th overall in his Tour de France debut.