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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 2, 2011

Date published:
December 02, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Matthews satisfied with four wins in neo pro season

    2011 Rund um Köln champion Michael Matthews (Rabobank) with his winner's hardware.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 1:36 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Tour Down Under stage victory remains overall highlight

    A stellar WorldTour debut led to a program re-think when it came to Rabobank's Michael Matthews, and upon reflection it remains a memorable performance for the 2010 Under 23 World Champion.

    Matthews' took out the 2011 Tour Down Under's third stage from Unley to Stirling and was narrowly beaten by Movistar's Francisco Ventoso on stage five to Willunga. The results aided in Matthews finishing fourth on general classification, nine seconds behind winner, Garmin-Cervelo's Cameron Meyer. It was his second win of the year having kicked the season off with a victory in Portarlington at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.

    "My program wasn't exactly Milan-San Remo and all of those big races but I showed that I can finish those races and still be strong – they gave me a chance and I think I did really well in my first season," the 21 year-old told Cyclingnews. Matthews was speaking at the NSW Grand Prix at Cronulla at the weekend, which he won narrowly from Chris Sutton (Sky) who claimed the overall title.

    Following the Tour Down Under, the Canberra-native got his third win of the year, when he took out the Vuelta a Murcia's opening stage, beating Team Sky's Russell Downing and Davide Appollonio. What followed was a surprise start in la classica di Primavera alongside three-time winner Oscar Freire, Lars Boom, Rick Flens, Sebastian Langeveld, Maarten Tjallingii, Bram Tankink and Maarten Wijnants – a selection which should pay dividends long-term when it comes to the Australian's development.

    "Being in the team that we had [for

  • Amador named to Costa Rica's Olympic team

    Andrey Amador
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 9:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Movistar rider claims nation's one cycling spot

    Andrey Amador of Movistar Team has been nominated for the 2012 Olympic games by the Costa Rica National Olympic Committee.  The central American country has one spot in the cycling events.

    “It's a dream come true and a magnificent opportunity to be able to ride there,” Amador said on the Movistar team website.  “Which sportsman does not dream about taking part in the Olympic Games? It's the most important sporting event in the world and I'll be proud to represent my country in London."

    The news has given him a real boost for the upcoming season. “To be honest I'm really willing to kick the season off. It's been a while since I was so motivated and willing to do things well right from the winter. If everything goes right, 2012 must be a season where I take a step forward in my sporting level".

    The 25-year-old's 2011 season got off to a dreadful start when he was brutally beaten, robbed and left for dead whilst on a training ride in his homeland. He suffered kidney and lung injuries in the attack in early January, but was able to return to racing at the Mallorca Challenge in February.

    He went on to ride throughout the spring, ending his season after the Tour de France, which he rode this year for the first time. He was the first Costa Rican to ride the Tour.

  • Velits looks to Tour de France in 2012

    Stage winner Peter Velits (HTC - Columbia) uncorks the bubbly.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 9:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Twin brothers together for entire career

    Peter Velits didn't have any wins in 2011 and didn't come close to repeating his podium finish in the Vuelta a Espana, but was still satisfied with the season overall. The Slovak is now looking forward to his future at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, accompanied as always by his twin brother Martin.

    The twins have been together their entire careers, starting with a year at Team Wiesenhof, two years each at Milram and HTC, and now going on to the Belgian team. “We feel good riding on the same team,” he told 

    “Besides, I simply can't image riding against Martin in race. And in the meantime the teams don't ask for one of us, but they want both Velits brothers in a package deal...”

    Velits' 2011 season was mainly marked by illness and injury. He caught a bad cold at the Tour of Algarve, which refused to go away. It was followed by muscle problems with kept him out of the Ardennes Classics.

    The injury hampered his lead-up to the Tour de France, where he finished 19th overall.  “I had expected something more,” he admitted.  “I think the team was satisfied with my GC ranking and I did the work that the team expected of me.”

    The two years at HTC taught the brothers a lot, starting with the impact a new position on the bike can have.  They took advantage of “all the knowledge the team offered us.  That's why it is too bad that it didn't continue.  We were a great group with talented people.”

    They will meet many familiar faces at their new team, not only riders like Matthew Brammeier, Bert Grabsch, Tony Martin and Frantisek Rabon, but also many of the support staff.

    Neither of the Belgian teams...

  • Kroon looks to put BMC years behind him

    Karsten Kroon (BMC Racing Team) landed in the top 10.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 10:42 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman happy to rejoin Saxo Bank

    Karsten Kroon is keen to put “the worst two years” of his career behind him in 2012 as he rejoins Saxo Bank after two injury-ridden campaigns in the colours of BMC.

    A heavy fall at the 2010 Flèche Wallonne saw Kroon sustain serious facial injuries and compromised the remainder of his season. After an exuberant beginning to 2011, the unfortunate Kroon’s progress was again halted by an untimely crash.

    “After my accident, I had a huge desire to get back to my best level,” Kroon told Velochrono. “I’d trained very hard during the off-season and my goal was to do something at the classics, but then I broke my collarbone a few days before the Tour of Flanders. I thought I could go there and look for a place in the top 10.”

    Though the veteran Kroon returned from that setback, he suffered further anguish later in the year, when he was left out of the BMC line-up for the Tour de France and missed out on marshalling Cadel Evans down the Champs-Élysées.

    “It was a great disappointment given how BMC did, with Cadel’s overall victory,” he admitted. To put a cap on a frustrating two years at the team, his Vuelta a España ended prematurely when he suffered a broken arm in a fall on stage 14.

    “It’s hard for me to take positives from these two seasons with BMC. I think I endured the worst two years of my career,” Kroon said.

    As his contract with BMC expired, the 35-year-old Kroon was happy to accept an offer from Saxo Bank. Kroon spent four years with the Danish team before joining BMC, and he is pleased to be reunited with manager Bjarne Riis.

    “When Bjarne proposed...

  • Time running out for Geox and Cobo

    Juan Jose Cobo at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 12:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team without sponsor as UCI deadline approaches

    Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo is ready to start looking for a new team for 2012 as time looks set to run out for Mauro Gianetti and Josean Maxtin in their bid to find a replacement sponsor for the Geox-TMC squad.

    While the final list of UCI Professional Continental squads will not be formally revealed until December 12, the final deadline for applicants to present their full dossiers to auditors Ernst & Young is this Friday, December 2.

    Geox announced its withdrawal from the sport in late October, and subsequent negotiations with a Venezuelan tourism initiative called "Venezuela País de Sueño" (Venezuela, country of dreams) have not led to a sponsorship deal for next season. Although Mauro Gianetti last week claimed that he was also in talks with a "big international company", Maxtin admitted on Friday that the team remains without a sponsor.

    “I can’t lie and the truth is that we don’t have anything,” Maxtin told AS.

    Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Cobo was already pessimistic about the chances of the team continuing to exist next season.

    “They [the UCI – ed.] gave us an extension from November 20 until Friday, but there don’t seem to be any signs of life,” Cobo told El Diario Montañés. “With the rest of the team, I’m waiting to hear something today or tomorrow, from Venezuela or other sponsors, but it seems that things are still...

  • Riders returning from doping suspension free to ride in Denmark

    Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches - Onfone) warms up for the afternoon time trial.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 13:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    National federation adopts UCI guidelines

    The Danish Cycling Union is changing its position and will now follow UCI guidelines for those who have served doping suspensions. The DCU will now allow such riders to ride on the national team and in the Tour of Denmark.

    “We now accept the position that riders who get the green light to ride from the UCI are also allowed to make it into our framework,” Tom Lund, head of the DCU, told

    This would allow Stefan Schumacher and Michael Rasmussen, both with Christina Watches-Onfone, to ride the Tour of Denmark, or Rasmussen to ride on the national team in the world championships and Olympics. Schumacher served a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and the Beijing Olympics.

    “We will not be arbiters of taste anymore because it gives us an incredible amount of extra work. There is still the caveat that we can exclude riders who openly discredit the sport or the Danish Cycling Union, but in general we are open to all riders who are in possession of a UCI license.

    “I cannot offhand think of riders on that account who would be in danger of being excluded,” Lund said.

    In the past, the DCU has for example excluded Bo Hamburger from the national team, although he was cleared of doping charges on technical grounds. In addition, last summer the federation tried to keep Rasmussen out of the Tour of Denmark, before finally allowing him to ride.

    That problem should not arise in 2012. “Christina Watches and Stefan Schumacher are welcome in the Tour of Denmark,” Lund stated.

    “That sounds eminently sensible. The aim must be to have the same rules worldwide, as both athletes and the audience knows what they have to...

  • Lorenzetto calls time on career

    Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre-Farnese Vini) moved in to the race lead.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 17:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian did not renew with Astana for 2012

    Mirco Lorenzetto has called time on his career after eight seasons as a professional. The 30-year-old spent the past campaign in the colours of Astana, but was without a contract for 2012.

    According to, Lorenzetto intends to remain in the sport in a coaching capacity. The Veneto native has already set about gaining the necessary qualifications to coach at juvenile level. His father Bepi is manager of the Marchiol amateur squad.

    Lorenzetto turned professional with the De Nardi squad in 2004, before switching to Domina Vacanze the following year. He was among the riders from that set-up who went on to form part of the new Milram squad in 2006.

    Lorenzetto’s most successful spell came from 2008 to 2010 in the colours of Lampre, when he captured the Giro del Friuli, two stages at the Tour of Sardinia and a stage of the Tour of Poland. He also finished the Giro d’Italia on two occasions, and completed the Tour de France in 2010.

  • Lampre-ISD open to sending Scarponi to Tour de France

    Michele Scarponi at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 19:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saronni weighing up options for 2012

    Lampre-ISD manager Giuseppe Saronni is open to the idea of Michele Scarponi leading the Italian squad at the Tour de France in 2012. Scarponi was second to Alberto Contador at this year’s Giro d’Italia, but speaking earlier in the week, he admitted that he was considering focusing his intentions on the Tour de France next season.

    “I certainly feel that Michele’s desire to plan next season in a specific way is a positive thing,” Saronni told his team’s website. “A rider of Scarponi’s quality must make his own decisions in a convinced manner and I think it’s right that he should always aim for the best.”

    Last season, Scarponi divided the grand tour leadership responsibilities with Damiano Cunego, who finished 7th overall at the Tour de France after skipping the Giro d’Italia. Both riders will make a decision on their 2012 programmes in the weeks to come, although the surfeit of time trialling miles in next July’s Tour will not be to the liking of either man.

    “At the first training camp, Scarponi and the directeurs sportifs will be able to evaluate some factors on which they can outline the basis of the programme for 2012,” Saronni said. “That’s the case not only for Scarponi, but for all of our leaders. Discussions on their race programme always need to be deep and constructive.”

    Lampre-ISD’s first training camp of the new campaign gets underway in Boario Terme on Sunday.