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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, August 7, 2009

Date published:
August 07, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Kelly Benefit Strategies ready for NRC weekend

    Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies) in action at the Clarendon Cup.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 20:45 BST
    Cycling News

    KBS to contest North Carolina criteriums

    The American Kelly Benefit Strategies team heads to North Carolina this weekend to compete in back to back National Racing Calendar (NRC) events. The Continental professional squad will field a team of six riders for the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational criterium in Charlotte on Saturday, August 8 followed by the Hanes Park Classic in Winston-Salem on Sunday, August 9.

    "We are sending a great squad to Charlotte," said performance director Jonas Carney. "We have a strong roster for a field sprint with Cando [Alex Candelario, ed.], [Jake] Keough, [Zach] Bell and [David] Veilleux. We also have real strength when it comes to any potential breakaways which is always a real possibility with only six-man rosters. It should be an exciting event as Charlotte always has a huge prize list and attracts the best racers in North America."

    "We feel we could win either race and doing so would really be great preparation for the US Professional Criterium Championships coming up fast," said general manager Ken Mills. "Our team is firing on all cylinders. It should be an exciting weekend of racing in Charlotte and Hanes Park as Charlotte has really become one of the higher quality events on the calendar over the past few years."

    The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational, now in its sixth year, offers a total purse of $75,0000 with $50,000 for the men's 50-mile twilight criterium and $25,000 for the women's 25-mile event in downtown Charlotte.

    Held annually since 1977, the Hanes Park Classic takes place on a 1.3-mile circuit through Winston-Salem's historic West End district.

    The Kelly Benefit Strategies team for both events includes Zach Bell, Alex Candelario, Jake Keough, Reid Mumford, David Veilleux and Scott Zwizanski.

  • Top US sprinters head South

    Kat Carroll won the women's Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 21:51 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Back to back NRC crits attract top talent to North Carolina

    The National Racing Calendar (NRC) and the USA Crit Series will make a combined stop at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational held on Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring top level races for both men and women. The following day the NRC continues at the nearby Hanes Park Classic.

    The Charlotte criterium will give the fastest sprinters in the nation, including defending champions Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita-Sutter Home) and Katharine Carroll (TIBCO), a chance to duke it out against their respective fields for prizes upwards of $75,000.

    "Yes, I feel good," said Borrajo. "In the last couple of races before this I have felt very good and so has my team. We are confident that we can make a good race again."

    Money is not the only attraction to the event. The criterium draws in the top cyclists who are searching to accumulate points toward the NRC series and the USA Crit series.

    NRC series runner up Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home) will be looking to move closer to the top spot in the rankings, currently held by time trial specialist Tom Zirbel. Though Zirbel will not be in attendance, Haedo can expect a battle from third placed Rory Sutherland (OUCH p/b Maxxis).

    "It's important for Sebastian to win too," Borrajo admitted. "We are close in the individual points so it's important for us to move up. We want to win the overall team and try for the individual -- We need as many points as possible."

    Last year the criterium fell in conflict with the Tour of Elk Grove, which resulted in teams splitting their squads in two directions. According to Borrajo, now that the races are on different weekends he does not think this will make Saturday night's criterium any harder.

    "No, I think it will be the same last year," Borrajo said. "There were very fast riders last year. The best crit riders always come to this race so the level is the same. The problem is the race is only six riders per team instead...

  • Early birds fly high for Tour of Utah

    Jeff Louder (BMC) claimed the overall title in Utah
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 22:24 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    BMC, Rock Racing get acclimated to altitude with pre-Tour camps

    Several US-based teams with strong contenders for the overall are taking this year's Tour of Utah seriously enough to hold pre-event training camps to prepare for the six-stage race set to begin on August 18.

    Set in the mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, the race will hit elevations as high as 2600m (8,500 feet), and riders need to prepare for the altitude well in advance.

    The camps come at the expense of participation in this weekend's National Calendar criteriums, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational and Hanes Park Classic, which offer up nearly the same amount of points toward the series overall, but over more challenging terrain.

    Team BMC is one outfit that headed out early to prepare for what is arguably the toughest stage race in the US. Defending champion Jeff Louder, who resides in Salt Lake City, will be joined by his teammates for a 10-day training camp aimed at scouting the decisive climbs, but more importantly allowing riders time to acclimate to the higher altitude.

    "The critical selection takes place at high elevation and it's hard to race at high elevation without being acclimated physiologically." said Gavin Chilcott, directeur sportif.

    "There is a difference in styles to race effectively at altitude. Even if you're completely acclimated, you don't have the ability to race the same as you would at sea level. Being on the higher resistance on long climbs is important, but it's also about getting used to producing high output at high elevation."

    After a short prologue, stage one of this year's event passes over Big Mountain (2000m) before a stage two finish atop Mt. Nebo (2600m). A technical time trial offers a break in the climbing before riders hit the second mountain finish at the Snowbird ski resort (2500m). The race concludes on August 23rd with a flat criterium.

    Last year, BMC's team training camp in Utah bore fruit when Louder won the overall title. This year, top-notch...

  • Armstrong to lead The Shack?

    Lance Armstrong wears the Livestrong brand wherever he goes.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 22:30 BST
    Cycling News

    RadioShack rebrands itself with nickname

    Lance Armstrong announced last month that he would form a new professional cycling team with the title sponsor RadioShack, but the team may be known by the nickname "the Shack" thanks to a new marketing campaign by the electronics outfit.

    After 88 years as RadioShack, the company began selling itself as "The Shack" on Thursday. The name RadioShack will remain on stores, but its $200 million advertising campaign for TV and digital promotions will use the new, "friendlier" nickname.

    Company CEO Lee Applbaum explained the change as a way to build confidence by familiarity. "Trust is a critical attribute of any successful retailer, and the reality is that most people trust friends, not corporations.

    "When a brand becomes a friend, it often gets a nickname - take FedEx or Coke, for example. Our customers, associates and even the investor community have long referred to RadioShack as 'The Shack,' so we decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world," said Applbaum.

    To kick off the campaign, "The Shack" is hosting a "Summer Netogether" in New York and San Francisco, featuring a "Bike Off" to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.


  • Private sponsor helping Steegmans

    Gert Steegmans in Moscow at the start of the year for the Katusha presentation. The contract between the two was dissolved this week
    Article published:
    August 07, 2009, 10:04 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian says he was pushed too hard by Katusha

    Gert Steegmans is being supported financially by Dutch cycling component manufacturer BBB while he looks for a new team, following a possible contract annulment with Team Katusha on Wednesday. The Belgian has also claimed that the Russian ProTour team put too much pressure on him to return to racing after a back injury in May.

    “We are glad to help Gert in his distress,” according to Davy Daniëls of BBB. It plans to sponsor him as an independent in upcoming criterium races. The company has previously provided Steegmans with equipment sponsorship.

    Katusha denies the Steegmans' contract has been annulled. Press spokesman Andrea Agostini told Cyclingnews that team manager Andrei Tchmil is waiting to talk with his cyclist.

    Steegmans refused to sign the team's anti-doping charter, and has not ridden competitively since the Dauphiné Libéré in June. “I consider this a completely lost year,” he told Het Nieuwsblad.

    Although he had two wins earlier in the season, he says that he did not bring in the expected results because of “one big problem: my back. Only when that problem was out of the way, did things get better.” But, he said, Tchmil pushed him too hard in May. “You cannot expect that if the doctor says the problem is solved that I am immediately in form the next day,” Steegmans said.

    Although he was placed on inactive status by Katusha in June, he has continued to ride. “I am still cycling but training is something else. There is always the uncertainty, “ he said. Steegmans added that despite some concern he remains highly motivated.

    Steegmans is rumoured to be close to signing with the French team Bbox Bouygues Telecom, but he would not confirm that. “I won't say much about my future. We'll see. I hope that my concerns will soon be over.”

  • Cervélo name riders for Tour of Ireland

    Roger Hammond (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2009, 11:59 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Hammond and Hunt named in strong British squad

    Cervélo TestTeam have confirmed their seven-man squad for the Tour of Ireland that begins in Enniskerry on August 21. Cervélo will be represented at the race by a number of the squad's British riders, including Roger Hammond and Jeremy Hunt.

    Hammond will be joined by Dan Fleeman, Daniel Lloyd, Martin Reimer, Jeremy Hunt, Davide Appollonio and, racing his home tour, Philip Deignan.

    Both Hammond and Hunt showed good form at the Tour of Denmark. Hammond finished third overall behind Saxo Bank's Jakob Fuglsang, while Hunt won stage four of the race.  

    Dan Fleeman, who raced with the team in Denmark, has competed in the previous two editions of the Tour of Ireland. He told Cyclingnews on Friday that he expects the first two stages to end in bunch sprints, with the general classification to be decided on stage 3. The final stage features two ascents of the category 1 St Patrick's hill.

    "I reckon [Mark] Cavendish will win the first two stages and it [the race for overall] will all come down to that last day. It was a really hard circuit last year, with the short explosive climbs," he said.

    Fleeman, who has endured a long recovery from a broken wrist suffered at the Bayern Rundfahrt in May, confirmed that following the Tour of Ireland he will start when Cervélo line up at next month's Tour of Britain.

  • Saxo Bank signs Didier for two years

    Saxo Bank
    Article published:
    August 07, 2009, 12:44 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Luxembourger will join ProTour squad in 2010

    Luxembourg rider Laurent Didier will race for Team Saxo Bank in 2010 after signing a two-year contract with the team this week. The 25-year-old rode with CSC-Saxo Bank as a stagiaire in 2008 and will join compatriots Fränk and Andy Schleck at the ProTour squad next season.

    "I'm really happy about this contract and I'm looking forward to joining the team. I know Fränk and Andy quite well and know that I'll get ample opportunity to improve myself with Team Saxo Bank," said Didier, on the Saxo Bank website.

    Didier completed an engineering degree in 2008 before commencing his professional cycling career. This year he has ridden his first season as a full time pro, currently rides for Danish pro continental squad Team Designa Køkken.

    He finished runner up in both the Luxembourg road and individual time trial championships in June, to Andy Schleck and Kim Kirchen (Columbia-HTC), respectively.

    Saxo Bank Directeur Sportif Kim Andersen said the team was looking forward to developing Didier's talent. "Laurent is definitely a great talent, who has the ability to become a skilled mountain rider in time," he said. "It will be very interesting to see how far he'll be able to take it and I'm sure he'll turn out to be a great asset to the team."

  • Arvesen weighing up options as Saxo Bank contract ends

    Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    August 07, 2009, 13:57 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Norwegian scheduled to return at Tour of Ireland

    Saxo Bank's Kurt Asle Arvesen says he has received offers from a number of teams, including another ProTour squad. The Norwegian's contract with Saxo Bank is due to expire at the end of the current season.

    "A ProTour-team has made a specific request, but several have expressed interest," Arvesen told Scandinavian television channel TV2.

    Arvesen did not reveal the names of the teams who have approached him, but said he hadn't received an offer from new squad, RadioShack. Arvesen also said that he would be happy to extend his contract with Saxo Bank, who have presented him with a new contract offer.

    "We will see what happens. I would like to be, but we haven't agreed yet. I hope it is a formality, but some things need time," he said. "I have received an offer from another team, but will be happy to continue at Saxo Bank."

    Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis would not be drawn on the progress of the contract negotiations, but did express his desire to keep Arvesen within his team.

    "We want to stretch ourselves as far as we can. But this is not something I want to say anything more about, it's between me and Kurt Asle," Riis told TV2. "There is no doubt that Kurt has been an important piece of the team. He is a person and a rider who I like a lot. He is not only a good bike rider, but also a great guy."

    Arvesen has been named in the Saxo Bank squad for this month's Tour of Ireland. It will be his first major race since he was forced to abandon last month's Tour de France with a broken collarbone.

    Australian Stuart O’Grady has been announced as leader of the team for the three-stage race that begins in two weeks. O'Grady and Arvesen will be joined by Jakob Fuglsang, Jonathan Bellis, Karsten Kroon, Alexander Kolobnev and Matti Breschel.

    The team has enjoyed success at the Tour of Ireland. In 2007 Breschel won stage two of the race and Marcus Ljungqvist finished second overall.