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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 25, 2009

Date published:
December 25, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Garmin-Transitions announces 2010 roster

    Christian Vande Velde renewed with Garmin-Transitions for three years.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2009, 17:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vande Velde, Martin and Zabriskie sign extended contracts

    Team Garmin-Transitions unveiled its 2010 roster on Thursday, featuring 10 Americans among the ProTour team's total of 27 riders from nine different countries. Christian Vande Velde, 8th overall in the 2009 Tour de France, David Zabriskie, U.S. Time Trial Champion and sprint sensation Tyler Farrar will return to the squad along with stars Dan Martin, Ryder Hesjedal and David Millar.

    New additions include Jack Bobridge, Australia's U23 Road Race and Time Trial Champion, Johan Van Summeren, two-time top 10 finisher at Paris-Roubaix, and expert lead-out man Robbie Hunter.

    Vande Velde, Martin and Zabriskie have all renewed contracts with the team that will extend through 2012, 2012 and 2013, respectively.

    "I've come an long way with Team Garmin-Transitions in a short time," said Vande Velde. "I'm incredibly proud of what I've done as part of this team and I'm excited to see what the next three years have to hold."

    Ireland's Dan Martin echoed Vande Velde's sentiments and is pleased to continue with the American ProTour squad. "The progress we have made together in the past two seasons shows what a perfect environment Garmin-Transitions is for a young rider," said Martin. "I'm really excited to have the chance to continue to improve, grow and have fun in what is the perfect team for me."

    "It's a beautiful thing," added Zabriskie. "To commit for four years myself, and to have the team commit to me is something really special."

    Jonathan Vaughters, Slipstream Sports CEO, is looking ahead to a successful 2010 season. "We're poised well for 2010," said Vaughters. "Our roster is strong and versatile with some of the world's best riders returning to us, and the addition of others.

    "This [upcoming] year we will look to build on Tyler's success by adding lead-out guys, we've added climbers to help Christian in the mountains and we've rounded out our Classics team. With Christian, Dan and David signing on for the next few...

  • Renshaw's absence forces Columbia to shuffle Cavendish's lead-out train

    2010 Columbia-HTC addition Matt Goss will be Cavendish's final lead-out man while Renshaw recovers from illness.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2009, 17:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Goss expected to move into Renshaw's lead-out position

    With Mark Renshaw set to miss the start of the season with a virus, his Columbia-HTC team will need to alter Mark Cavendish’s lead-out train for the first part of the 2010 season. On Tuesday it was confirmed that Renshaw was suffering with the Epstein-Barr virus and would not be able to train until mid-January, and that he wouldn’t commence racing until May, thus ruling him out of the Tour Down Under and the Spring Classics.

    The Classics are a major goal for Cavendish who won Milano-Sanremo in thrilling fashion in 2009. However, despite his electrifying sprint win against Heinrich Haussler, it was a win which he owed greatly to the work of his teammates. In his recent biography Boy Racer he paid tribute to their work when he said: “they aren't just any old teammates, they're special athletes, special individuals with whom I have a special bond and without whom I'd never win a race.”

    However, with Renshaw ruled out, Cavendish will need to almost totally restructure his team. Last year’s Milano-Sanremo line-up included George Hincapie, Michael Barry, Edvald Boasson Hagen, and Thomas Lövkvist, all of whom have left the team, while Bernard Eisel and Maxime Monfort remain for the 2010 season.

    Columbia have prided themselves on building their team around sprint success. Despite losing a number of faces they have strengthened with the likes of Lars Bak, Hayden Roulston, and Matt Goss signing, and it’s the Australian who could step in and fill the void left by Renshaw’s illness.

    “Obviously for Mark Cavendish at Milano-Sanremo it’s going to be a difficult race, but we'll have Gossy there,” Alan Peiper told Cyclingnews.

    “So if he can climb well he could come into that. It will take some time for adjustment but he’s given us a bit of a back stop. We’ve got the best sprinter and the second best sprinter in the peloton, but we really...

  • Equipe Nürnberger management still fighting to keep team alive

    The 2009 Equipe Nürnberger
    Article published:
    December 24, 2009, 18:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Talks with potential sponsors are on-going, including Sky Germany

    The management of Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung is not ready to give up the fight for the further existence of the women's team. “The team is not dead yet,” team manager Herbert Oppelt told, and acknowledged that the team is talking with, among others, Sky Germany.

    Nürnberger Versicherung announced last summer that it would end its sponsorship at the end of this season, and the team announced that Skyter GmbH would be the new sponsor. However, the yacht leasing firm surprisingly announced earlier this month that it would be unable to follow through with its obligation.

    Oppelt acknowledged that he does not yet have a new sponsor but is doing all he can to find one. The team has hired an agency to help with the search. “Discussions are ongoing,” he said, but doesn't expect a solution until after the holidays. “Right now a lot of people are simply on vacation.”

    One potential sponsor is Sky, which sponsors not only the new ProTour Team Sky, but also the British national team, of which Equipe newcomer Nicole Cook is a member. Olympic champion Cooke opened the door for the sponsorship discussion. “In the meantime we are also in discussions with Sky Germany,” Oppelt said. “We are fighting.”

    The team is trying to stay together in hopes of finding a new sponsor, but the annual winter training camp on Mallorca has fallen victim to the financial problems. “The riders have now organised something themselves, to individually prepare themselves for the season.”

  • Contador: 2009 was my best but most difficult season

    Alberto Contador is confident his team can prop him up in his attempt at a third Tour de France title next season
    Article published:
    December 24, 2009, 18:36 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Tour winner reflects on his year with Armstrong

    Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has described the 2009 season as both his best and his most difficult year in the sport. Speaking to Spanish daily AS, the Astana team leader said this had been his best season “not only because I won the Tour, but also because I was in contention in every race I took part in and took some very good results”.

    Naturally, he was asked about the nature of the difficulties and once again reflected on the difficulties he’d faced within the Astana team during the year without offering any new insight into his rocky relationship with Lance Armstrong.

    Quizzed on the decision of so many Astana riders to follow the American to the new RadioShack team rather than sticking things out at Astana, he responded: “It was a logical decision and I understand why they made it. RadioShack offered them a stable and well-paid set-up. I couldn’t offer them anything or make them any promises. I didn’t even have a team until the middle of December.”

    Contador did offer a new perspective on the troubles he’d faced in recent seasons, suggesting they have increased his motivation to succeed. “It seems that something happens to me every winter. Either I don’t have a contract, or we’re not going to the Tour, or Armstrong decides to come back, or I don’t have a team at all. I always seem to lack some degree of tranquility, but I always manage to avoid letting it affect my training. In fact when things are running smoothly I don’t achieve the same kind of results.”

    Once again, Contador picked out Andy Schleck as his main rival for the 2010 Tour. “It’s a good route for me and for him,” he stated. Pressed on whether Schleck or Armstrong will be his most dangerous rival, Contador insisted: “Andy will be the toughest to deal with in the mountains. He will be more mature and experienced and I’m sure...

  • Colom orders doping suspension to be dropped

    Antonio Colom wins in Nice
    Article published:
    December 25, 2009, 10:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Claims UCI case is filled with errors

    Toni Colom has asked the Spanish cycling federation to drop his temporary suspension due to a positive doping control, claiming the case against him is filled with errors.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) ordered the provisional suspension in June, saying the Spaniard had tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control in April. The Katusha rider was targeted because of his blood profile and race schedule, the UCI said.

    Colom and his attorney filed an appeal of more than 50 pages, according to the Spanish newspaper Diario de Mallorca. The rider maintained his innocence and claimed that the case against him was “riddled with flaws,” calling it “a disaster”.

    He also asked the Real Federacion Espanola de Ciclismo to issue his licence for the 2010 season, and to give him a “final acquittal” on the doping charges.

    Colom had had three wins in the first part of the 2009 season, the Trofeo Bunyola, a stage in the Volta ao Algarve and a stage at Paris-Nice. He finished second overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

  • Stapleton says Armstrong's comeback good for cycling

    Columbia team manager Bob Stapleton talks while his team rides the Giro d'Italia TTT.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2009, 10:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Columbia boss sees Armstrong “passing the mantle” to Cavendish

    Lance Armstrong’s return to professional cycling has been praised by Team Columbia-HTC owner Bob Stapleton. In an interview with CNN, the team boss also said that Armstrong was ‘passing the mantle’ to Columbia sprinter, Mark Cavendish.

    "I think it is very interesting that the biggest name in the sport is embracing, and indeed passing the mantle, to the second biggest name in the sport. From Lance to Mark."

    Armstrong announced his return to professional cycling at a press conference in September 2008 and raced against a professional road field for the first time at the Tour Down Under in January 2009. Since then he has raced the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and set up his own team - RadioShack – for the start of the 2010 season.

    "Lance's return has brought lots of publicity back to the sport and taken it back onto the world stage," Stapleton told CNN.

    "It wasn't just Lance's comeback, but the way he raced that was so amazing. Viewing figures for the Tour de France went up 40 per cent in the States this year and brought cycling to the attention of the world's media, peaking at the Tour.”

    Stapleton believes that this allowed his and other teams to tap into a Lance-effect and generate their own headlines in front of the world media whenever they were successful. During this year’s Tour de France Columbia won six stages through Cavendish and just missed out on the green jersey. Tony Martin, another young talent, held the white jersey as best young rider for several days.

    "Mark won multiple stages at both the Giro and the Tour, both races that Lance was riding in. And, because the spotlight was shining on cycling, it gave all the other teams an ideal opportunity to showcase their qualities. Hopefully it will all happen again in 2010!"

    In 2009 the team won 86 races throughout the season with Cavendish taking 23, Andre Greipel 20, and the team won 17...

  • Pedersen makes Footon-Servetto's Tour de France squad

    Martin Pedersen (right)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2009, 10:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Christmas present for Dane eager for his first Grand Tour

    Martin Pedersen got the Christmas present he'd wished for when his team Footon-Servetto guaranteed him a spot at the 2010 Tour de France.

    "It's huge. I sit every year and follow the Tour de France on television. It's a boyhood dream for all cyclists to be allowed to ride in the Tour de France, " Pedersen told the Danish broadcaster TV 2 Sport.

    The news will help him with training over the winter. "I'll try to take it quietly, but it is clear that this will really motivate me. Especially when it is cold and the snow comes down," the 26-year-old said.

    The 2010 season marks his return to the ProTour after a two-year-absence. Pedersen rode for Team CSC in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 he joined the Continentalanked Team GLS-Pakke Shop, which was known as Team Capinordic in 2009. He had three wins this season, including Rund um Köln.

    Pedersen hopes that his first Grand Tour will help him develop as a rider. “There must be big races and long stage race in order to reach a higher level as a cyclist.”

    His goal at the 2010 Tour is to gather experience, especially from the other riders. "I'll learn a lot. There are many who have ridden it many times before and know how to cope with it, where as I will be thinking about how exciting it is instead of focusing on the stages.”

  • The peloton's highlights of 2009

    Alberto Contador claims a fine solo victory and the race lead.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2009, 16:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Insiders look back at the past season

    What are the memories that will remain from the 2009 season? The best, the most memorable, the most surprising, the most disappointing? And who showed promised for the coming year?

    Cyclingnews asked various industry insiders how they saw things this past year, and here is what they had to say.

    Laura Weislo (Cyclingnews US Editor)

    Best performance: Emma Pooley soloing to the win in the Montreal World Cup after breaking away from the first kilometre. It's not as if the peloton didn't know her modus operandi - she has a history of solo breakaways. This one was extraordinary - who stays away from kilometre zero in a World Cup?

    Best Team: Team Columbia-HTC men and women. Who can argue that a team that wins so many races doesn't deserve this title?

    Biggest disappointment: Davide Rebellin getting popped for CERA, especially coming right after his win in La Fleche Wallonne.

    Rider to watch in 2010: Serge Pauwels. After his ride in the Giro d'Italia, and being relieved of domestique duties for Carlos Sastre after switching from Cervelo to Sky, Pauwels will have an opportunity to shine in 2010. Borut Bozic will also be a big factor in the sprints.

    Most memorable race: World Championships, without a doubt the most exciting finish to a race this year. Or maybe it's just because I watched it on a herky-jerky streaming video from the Las Vegas airport.

    Biggest surprise: Contador beating Wiggins in the Paris-Nice prologue. He'd shown his prowess over longer time trials, but his beating the Olympic pursuit champion over such a short distance was a shock.

    Massimo Lopez (La Gazzetta US...