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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 24, 2010

Date published:
December 24, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Gianetti denies problems with Geox and TMC

    The two Swiss riders of Footon-Servetto-Fuji, David Vitoria and Noé Gianetti (l-r), join Mauro Gianetti for a picture.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 19:56 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Swiss manager says he is not selling the team to the sponsors

    Team manager Mauro Gianetti has played down reports there is a risk of Geox and TMC quitting the sport even before the team rides its first race, and has denied he is under pressure to sell the team after failing to secure a ProTeam license for 2011.

    On Thursday Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Geox wanted to take direct control of the team because the Italian shoe manufacturer was unhappy with the way Gianetti had created the team. The Italian newspaper revealed that Geox has invested 2.5 million Euro in the team, and believed it deserved a place amongst the 18 ProTeams.

    Gianetti built the new Geox-TMC team on the Footon-Servetto squad he managed in 2010. He signed 2008 Tour de France Carlos Sastre and 2009 Giro d'Italia winner Denis Menchov as team leaders with approval from Geox, but then failed to sign other high-profile riders to secure a ProTeam licence.

    Geox has since hired former Mapei team manager Alvaro Crespi as a consultant to better understand the sport. Gianetti claims he is in close contact with Crespi and the Geox management and insists everything is in place for the 2011 season.

    "I saw the story in Gazzetta dello Sport this morning and immediately rang the managing director at Geox. He assured me that they have no intention of pulling out and are likely to issue their own statement saying that," Gianetti told Cyclingnews.

    "All the contracts between the sponsors and my management company are registered with the UCI and everything is in place for the 2011 season. I'm not at all worried."

    "The idea that I'm going to sell the team is just absurd because they haven't even asked me to sell it. I don’t know why Gazzetta dello Sport decided to write that story."

    No recrimination

    Rather than recriminate about the team's failure to secure a ProTeam licence, Gianetti preferred to look ahead. He is convinced the team will be invited to the Giro...

  • McEwen, Hunter join Team RadioShack

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) leads the sprint classification in the Eneco Tour.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 21:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sprinters get a Christmas gift after Pegasus Sports failure

    Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen and South African Robbie Hunter will join Team RadioShack for the 2011 season, the team announced today. Both riders were facing unemployment after the failure of the Pegasus Sports team to gain a UCI Professional Continental license.

    McEwen was widely tipped to be heading to the American team of Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong since the team lost its sprinter Gert Steegmans to Quick Step earlier this month.

    McEwen, a three-time Tour de France points classification winner and Hunter, the first South African to win a Tour de France stage, will fit perfectly in the team said Bruyneel.

    "I feel sad for the riders and staff of the Pegasus project, but most of the riders deserve to race at the highest level of professional cycling. I am happy to have been able to offer two of the guys that opportunity," Bruyneel said in a press release. "Moreover, we can really use both riders; they are real finishers and winners. They are both very fast and don't need a real sprinter's train to bring them to the last kilometer. They are ‘self-sufficient' and will also be a wealth of knowledge for our young riders."

    McEwen was relieved to secure a contract for what he said will be his final season in the peloton, and said RadioShack was his first choice.

    "Johan Bruyneel offered me the environment I was looking for. I am happy and grateful. I still know and believe that I am one of the fastest sprinters in the world," McEwen said. "The young guys like Cavendish, Farrar or Greipel are tough to beat but I know that I am still amongst that group of elite sprinters.

    "I still have a lot to offer. I just don't want to ride one more year just to ride along in the bunch. I want to perform well and go away on a high."

    Hunter was also understandably delighted to be signed with the team, and Bruyneel revealed that the team had tried to sign him in...

  • Tech news: More on what the pros will be riding in 2011

    Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) poses with his new bike for the season.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 3:04 GMT
    James Huang, technical editor

    Liquigas and Vacansoleil change

    Liquigas sticks with Cannondale but moves to SRAM

    Liquigas team bikes will have a familiar look for the coming season, with the same Cannondale Super-Six Hi-Mod carbon fibre road frames and – at least for now – similar paint jobs as in years past based on our early preview of Vicenzo Nibali's machine.

    Nearly all of the component sponsors have returned for another year as well, including Mavic wheels (and now tyres), FSA bars, seatposts, and stems, fi'zi:k saddles, Speedplay pedals, SRM power meters and computers and Elite water bottles and cages.

    Long-term supporter Campagnolo will be replaced by SRAM, however, for both road and time trial bikes. The company's top-end Red group will be featured on team rigs when they make their 2010 competition debut at next month's Tour Down Under.

    As on most ProTour-level bikes we've seen in the past, Liquigas will substitute quieter-running PG-1070 cassettes and faster-shifting steel-caged front derailleurs instead of the stock PowerDome and titanium versions. SRAM Professional System cable systems made by Gore Ride-On will provide smooth and weather-resistant shift performance.

    New SRAM bits notwithstanding, Nibali's SuperSix Hi-Mod is a close copy of the Ivan Basso pro bike profile we published earlier this year save for a few key areas. While Basso prefers a traditional-bend alloy bar, Nibali's bike is seen here with a compact-bend FSA K-Force model. Similarly, Nibali has opted for FSA's carbon-wrapped OS-99 stem as compared to Basso's forged and CNC-machined OS-115.

    Big changes for Vacansoleil

    The Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM is undergoing a major overhaul heading into 2011 with a recently earned ProTeam license, nine big rider signings including two-time Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Stijn Devolder and a virtual clean slate of equipment sponsors.

    The team will move from Batavus to Ridley as its official frame supplier...

  • La Pomme Marseille turns Continental

    VC La Pomme Marseille and Cofidis control the tempo.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 9:53 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    French cycling club creates third division team based in Latvia

    The renowned French amateur club VC La Pomme Marseille has stepped up its cycling project by creating a Continental team of 16 young riders. The French squad, originally based in the South of France, had to resort to the Latvian cycling federation, with which it has long-time ties, to take its UCI Continental licence.

    As the team's general manager Frédéric Rostaing explained to Cyclingnews, the French cycling federation (FFC) and the national League LNC refused the outfit's application, while its Latvian counterpart had no problem supporting him.

    "The FFC and the LNC thought our financial dossier was not sufficient, even though we provided a solid bank guarantee," said Rostaing.

    The result of this rather odd situation will be a Franco-Latvian team based in Latvia for all administrative matters, but continuing to meet all other requirements (rider licences taken with the FFC, maintaining French salaries and social security).

    "We will have seven French riders and seven Latvian," said Rostaing on Friday. "At the same time, it's a logical evolution of our club. We have always had privileged contacts with the Latvian Federation, which is grateful to us for allowing young Latvian talents to develop within our structure, and for some to access a professional career."

    Amongst the former VC La Pomme riders now turned professional stars are Nicolas Roche, Dan Martin, Daryl Impey, Rémy Di Grégorio, Philip Deignan and Fumiyuki Beppu. With a budget of roughly 700,000 Euro, the team will entertain a total of 16 riders with one Lithuanian and one Argentine youngster also joining the outfit.

    "Our hope is to build upon our national and international reputation and to prove our worth on the Continental level. The team team really is the top of a pyramidal project that covers many areas of promoting the sport and has a broad basis."

    The VC La Pomme comprises its first division amateur team...

  • Martin back on the bike after surgery

    Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche Cycling), Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) and Yusuke Hatanaka (Shimano Racing) on the podium.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Cervélo climber in best-ever winter form

    Fully recovered from last month’s nasal surgery, Dan Martin is already feeling the benefits of his improved breathing capabilities. The 24-year-old underwent the operation in order to solve a long-standing allergy issue. The Irishman regularly suffers from allergies in the spring and had tissue removed from his nasal passage.

    “For the time of year I feel great on the bike, really strong. I can definitely notice the difference with my breathing but I also think it's down to the year-on-year progression. I've had about 15 days back training now, and straight away the sensations were better than previous years. I don't pay much attention to speeds but I'm definitely moving around Cataluña a lot quicker than in previous years,” he told Cyclingnews.

    Despite his strong form, Martin’s surgery wasn’t a complete success at first and he was forced to have a second procedure after doctors discovered that he had burst an artery during the first operation.

    “It was quite painful, and I didn't sleep much with the constant trickle of blood down my throat. I had to have a second three-hour operation and general anaesthetic, my second in 24 hours, which knocked me about a fair bit.”

    Now back to full health, Martin is busy putting the finishing touches to his race schedule for next year. Last week it was reported that he would co-lead Garmin-Cervélo with Christophe Le Mével. However those plans are just provisional and alterations may still be made at the team’s European training camps in Calpe and Girona, Spain, next month.

    One set of races that will certainly be on Martin’s schedule are the Ardennes Classics, events that he marks down as one of his favourite periods of racing in the season.

    “They suit me down to the ground and I did well there last year. I really enjoy them, and while of course they’re objectives I just love riding...

  • One-year ban for Costa?

    Rui Costa (Caisse d'Epargne) didn't give 100 percent, yet still won the title.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 10:52 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Portuguese Anti-Doping Council insists on suspension

    Rui Costa (Caisse d'Epargne), who tested positive for Methylhexanamine in June, may well have to accept a one-year ban despite the fact that the substance had "reappeared in a number of nutritional supplements and was therefore subject to potential inadvertent use by athletes," according to the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA.

    Costa and his brother, who was also positive, maintain that they were contaminated by a food supplement, and WADA has recently changed its rules to allow for greater tolerance because of the increased risk of unintentional use of the drug.

    But the Portuguese Anti-Doping Council CNAD has denied to reduce the sentence for Costa to four months and 15 days, as the Portuguese cycling federation had pleaded. "The CNAD doe not agree, as article 10.5.2 of the WADA Code stipulates that the sanction cannot be reduced to more than half of the infraction's punishment," the CNAD stated in a press release.

    Now, Costa's fate is in the hands of federation's Disciplinary Committee, but Luis Horta, president of the national anti-doping authority, may appeal the decision.

  • Leon Sanchez ready for Rabobank

    Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Carlos Sastre (Cervelo)
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 11:42 GMT
    Hernan Alvarez

    Spaniard says farewell to Spain and Caisse d’Epargne

    The 2011 season is now just a matter of days away and Luis Leon Sanchez is putting the finishing touches to his training ahead of his debut season with Rabobank. The Spaniard signed for the Dutch squad  after a successful spell at Caisse d’Epargne, to which he had committed in 2007.

    Sanchez is eagerly training for next season, working out in his homeland in Murcia. “I would like to improve my performance in high mountain stages. I don’t have good times in the really hard mountaintop finishes,” he told Cyclingnews.

    Sanchez’s race schedule already looks jam-packed for 2011. He will ride the Vuelta a Mallorca, Vuelta a Andalucia, Paris-Nice, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour de France, Clásica San Sebastian and the Vuelta a España.

    The Spaniard finished fourth overall in the UCI World ranking, proving he is among the very best riders in the world. Early in the year, he ended up second in Australia’s Tour Down Under where he won stage five. Later on, he finished second again on the Paris-Nice podium after a very consistent week in France.

    In March he competed in his own country riding the Volta a Catalunya and earning a decent fourth place. In the 2010 Tour de France he was very close to the top 10 as he ended up 11th. After the Tour finally came his big win, as he took the one-day Clasica de San Sebastian in the Basque city.

    The last parade in his year was the Tour of Spain. He finished in the top 10 in the three-week race. “It was a good season for me,” the rider from Murcia told Cyclingnews. “We had worked hard, things were going well, and results had come. Maybe we lacked some luck in some precise moments of the season but I am happy with the achievements that we got.”

    With Caisse d’Epargne now part of his history the Spaniard is ready to turn his attention to his new team but he is...

  • Modolo eager for victory in 2011

    Sacha Modolo (Colnago CSF Inox) has been sprinting well.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 13:57 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Colnago-CSF Inox sprinter looks to improve next season

    Sacha Modolo of the Italian Colnago-CSF Inox team has high hopes for the coming season. Looking back on a successful first year with the squad - albeit without any victories - the 23-year-old neo-pro wants to get back his winning ways in 2011.

    The Conegliano native was described as "the surprise of 2010" when he scored, in his first-ever participation, fourth place in Milano-Sanremo. He then proved his high sprinting speed at Tirreno-Adriatico, always competing with the best in the stage finishes, and secured a third place in the Giro del Veneto.

    Prior to La Classicissima, though, he wasn't sure at all what he'd be able to do. "Roberto [Reverberi, team manager - ed.] believed in me right away and gave me the possibility to play out my cards," Modolo told Tuttobiciweb. "At the start of San Remo, he was more convinced than myself that I'd be able to get a good result. This year, I am sure that there will be high expectations of me and my team, but I'm certain that we won't be disappointing anyone."

    Overall, Modolo was happy with his first year in the pro ranks and now wants to step up one level. "It was a positive year, in which I got a few good placings. Of course, I missed a victory, but as I am only in my first year as a pro, so I can't complain at all.

    "In 2011, I want to win. 2010 was the first year since I started racing that I haven't won. I want to break the spell and go back to the races in which I've done well this year, hopefully improving myself."

    The young sprinter will be following the same pre-season build-up as this year, with one exception: "In January I will go to Sicily in order to prevent having to skip training days because of the bad weather."