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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 12, 2010

Date published:
February 12, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Date change reason for Savio's Langkawi absence

    Francesco Ginanni and director Gianni Savio happy with the repeat.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 8:59 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Perennial attendees Androni-Diquigiovanni won't ride in Malaysia

    As another edition of the Tour de Langkawi approaches, Androni-Diquigiovanni manager Gianni Savio has explained his team's absence from this year's race, citing the event's date change as the primary reason.

    The UCI 2.HC-ranked Malaysian race will clash with Tirreno-Adriatico, the Italian stage race season opener where Savio will be taking a team. He has been a mainstay of the Tour de Langkawi during the past decade, enjoying success on the general classification and in sprints with the likes of José Serpa, Alberto Loddo and José Rujano.

    "The problem is that the new organisation has changed the race date which is usually held in February in the past to March 1-7, which is just two days before the Tirreno-Adriatico, the most important race in Italy after the Giro d'Italia. It's a world calendar race that we won last year with our leader Michele Scarponi," said Savio in a statement.

    "I am really sorry that the team will not to be able to participate in Le Tour de Langkawi because I like Malaysia very much and Le Tour de Langkawi has always been good to our team where we had always been a protagonist in the past," he added.

    "Last year, we established another record by winning the individual general classification through Josè Serpa, the overall team classification, the king of mountains, also with Serpa, and the points classification with Mattia Gavazzi. We also won five stages," said Savio.

    The year has been successful for Savio thus far, enjoying four stage wins at last month's Tour de San Luis; the experienced Italian manager hopes to carry that momentum into an event on home turf, where, as he said, the team comes into this year's edition with the defending champion.

    "Last month, I came back from Argentina where we won four stages in the Tour de San Luis - two with Alberto Loddo, one with Jackson Rodriguez and one with Luis Mate. We also won the overall team classification and the second place...

  • Cobo happy at Caisse d'Epargne

    Juan José Cobo (Fuji-Servetto) wins
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 10:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish climber to support Valverde in Tour Méditerranéen

    Juan José Cobo says he is “lucky” to have moved to Caisse d'Epargne and is highly motivated for the 2010 season. Cobo rode with Fuji-Servetto last year and won stages in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon as well as in the Vuelta.

    "Having had the good fortune of joining a team as important as Caisse d'Epargne is a great opportunity," said Cobo to the Europa Press news agency. “Every rider has the ability to play an important role."

    The 29-year-old also praised the team's "great atmosphere.” The cold European winter has provided “few ideal training conditions,” but he nevertheless felt “better than expected”.

    Cobo is making his debut for the team in the Tour Méditerranéen in support of captain Alejandro Valverde. From there, Cobo will ride the Clasica de Almeria, Paris-Nice, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Flèche Wallonne.

    The Spaniard is a climber, but also a good time triallist. He turned pro in 2004 with Saunier Duval, and remained with the team's management until this season. In 2007, he won the overall title in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

  • Dwars door Nederland cancelled before first edition

    The typical windmill and the breakaway riders Moreau, Thijs, Albasini and Schmitz
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 10:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    New Dutch stage race suffered financial problems, to take place in 2011

    The new race Dwars door Nederland was scheduled to be run for the first time in June 2010, but has already been cancelled due to a lack of local funding.

    “There weren't enough start and finish locations contracted,” Wim van Drunen, head of the organising committee, told the Belga news agency.

    "The current economic situation and the fact that this year both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia have attracted a number of Dutch provinces, are the cause," said Van Drunen. "For 2011 it looks significantly better. We are determined to hold Dwars door Nederland next year."

    The 2.2 race had been scheduled for June 1- 9.

  • Kohl happy with new life

    Bernhard Kohl is thinking about the day ahead in the rain.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 10:59 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Former Austrian pro has put his past behind him with bike shop

    Bernhard Kohl, who confessed using performance-enhancing substances and methods during his former career as a pro cyclist - which saw him reach the final podium of the Tour de France - has successfully started a new life by opening a bike shop in Vienna, Austria.

    In a lengthy interview with Austrian, the 27 year-old said that he was happy to have changed his profession and that he came out of this challenge a stronger man.

    "I'm happy with my new situation: I have a new goal, a new challenge. This business is a lot of fun. And I think that's what's most important in my situation," said Kohl.

    After having been caught doping, the Austrian admitted his wrongdoings and started a public anti-doping campaign in which he revealed all the details of how it was done, also earning a lot of criticism for the way he confesed. Still, he had no regrets as to his choices.

    "I think I have taken the right path. Not always in the right direction, though, as I also made mistakes. But I ended up steering my boat the right way with the idea of the bike shop."

    Kohl felt he had learned a lot during the last years. "Whoever experiences a situation like this one ends up getting out of it stronger - if they master it. Some may fall very low and possibly never get up again. I was more lucky as I was able to steer my destiny into the right direction again."

    During the time the Austrian worked on re-integrating himself in society and working out a way to make a living, he became quite philosophical. Kohl said that he was relieved that his doping became apparent, as it "may have saved me from even greater harm".

    "Maybe I would have continued and crashed badly and sit in a wheelchair today. You don't know these things. Life plays its little games that are destined to be," he said.

    "Looking back at it, what I did and what I lived through was crazy. But when you're a professional athlete, you don't look beyond the...

  • Tour de France teams to be announced in spring

    Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme at the presentation of the Brussels region itinerary for the 2010 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 11:51 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Prudhomme "can't promise anything" for the six remaining slots

    The organisers of the Tour de France (ASO) are working hard on finalising the itineraries and the teams taking part in this year's event, starting in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Race director Christian Prudhomme has now promised that he would reveal the identities of the invited teams "in the beginning of spring," just after March 20.

    Speaking to French in Qatar, another race organised by ASO, Prudhomme said that according to the agreement between ASO and the International Cycling Union (UCI) from September 2008, 16 teams are already certain to participate.

    "The agreement is simple: it says that in 2009 and 2010, we have to allow all the teams that held a ProTour license on September 25, 2008," he explained. "Now, Crédit Agricole and Gerolsteiner have ceased to exist, so there are 16 teams that are certain to start in Rotterdam, unless there is a case of serious damage to our image as it happened with Saunier Duval in 2008, which became Fuji-Servetto in 2009. Last year, the Court of Arbitration for Sport gave us the right not to invite it to our races."

    These 16 teams are: AG2R-La Mondiale, Française des Jeux, BBox Bouygues Telecom, Cofidis, Omega-Pharma Lotto, Quick Step, Rabobank, Liquigas-Doimo, Lampre-NGC, Astana, Saxo Bank, HTC-Columbia, Caisse d'Epargne, Euskaltel, Milram and Footon-Servetto.

    Prudhomme continued by saying that ASO's plans were to allow a total of 22 teams into the race, thus leaving six teams to be determined, and that he had a total of "25 teams" in mind. "Of course, it is logical that some teams seem inevitable to us. I can cite RadioShack as an example," he continued, saying that the organiser's minimum of French riders had been fulfilled and that it was now a question of which teams had the most interesting leaders in their ranks.

    On that level, Team Sky (Bradley Wiggins), Katusha (Kim Kirchen), Cervélo (Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd), BMC (Cadel Evans) and...

  • Mt. Hood finds title sponsor in Indie Hops

    Riders from Team Ouch spread out, breaking formation.
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 15:10 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Organiser promise NRC return in 2011

    Mt. Hood Cycling Classic has signed a new title sponsor, Indie Hops, to help rebuild its foundation as one of the top stage races in the United States, after last year’s economic downturn nearly sunk the race. Organisers will host a Pro/Am six-day stage race this year while it works hard to rejoin USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) in 2011.

    “The connection is Roger Worthington, one of the Indie Hops partners, alongside Jim Solberg,” said Chad Sperry, one of the race’s organisers. “They put this company together in May 2009 and they are huge cycling fans. Roger is an accomplished road racer who won the masters race last year at Mt. Hood which boasted one of the toughest fields on the west coast. They are just starting this company and looking for some great marketing opportunities. Bikes and beer go hand-in-hand in this area, so it was a perfect fit.

    “We are looking forward to going back on the NRC next year and working hard to bring the race back up,” Sperry said. “In hindsight if we knew last year we would have what we have now with Indie Hops, then we would have applied to be on the NRC for 2010.”

    This year marks the eighth annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, to be held from June 2-7 around Portland, Oregon. It is famous for its Columbia Gorge time trial and challenging Mt. Hood and Mt. Tabor mountaintop finishes. The tough course was made even tougher with the addition of a new mountaintop finish on Mt. Adam, which crosses into Washington State. The organisation will also offer a separate category two men’s event that will run on the same route and the Pro/Am.

    “It’s the gorge; this is a racers race,” Sperry said. “We have a modest prize list but the riders love to come and compete because the Hood River is so beautiful and the roads are so great with lots of mountains. Riders love it and that has kept us going in bleak times. We...

  • Dueñas helped to find new team

    Moises Dueñas won the Regio Tour
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 15:34 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Return to pro ranks probable with Xacobeo-Galicia

    Former Barloworld rider Moisés Dueñas is on the verge of a return to the pro peloton thanks to the considerable assistance of Spain's highest sporting authority, the Consejo Superior de Deportes (Superior Council for Sports, CSD). Banned for two years after testing positive for EPO during the 2008 Tour de France when he was riding for Barloworld, Dueñas had the ban cut to one season after he collaborated with the authorities. As part of the same deal, the CSD said that it would do all it could to find the Spanish rider a place on a pro team. That commitment now seems close to being fulfilled, with Spanish pro continental outfit Xacobeo-Galicia his almost certain destination.

    According to the Spanish press, CSD director-general Albert Soler approached José Ramón Lete, director-general of sport in Galicia's regional government, with the proposal at the end of last month. Lete is reported to have been interested in taking on Dueñas, a former winner of the Tour de l'Avenir who has re-established himself as one of the leading amateurs in Spain with the Super Froiz team since his return to racing halfway through last year.

    Lete passed on his recommendation for the move to Xacobeo team manager Pedro Alfaro at the end of last week. Since then the team have been weighing up the pros and cons of taking on Dueñas, with the pros apparently winning out. Some reports are suggesting that Javier Guillén, director-general of Vuelta organiser Unipublic, has also pushed for the signing to take place.

    A report in Dueñas's local paper in the town of Bejar in western Spain suggests that these negotiations have been done so discreetly that even Dueñas has been unaware of their progress. The 28-year-old rider is due to take part in a training camp in Galicia this weekend with his Super Froiz team, but it seems increasingly likely this will be his final appearance in their colours if the...

  • An Post-Sean Kelly awarded final Omloop Het Nieuwsblad wildcard spot

    Stage winner Niko Eeckhout (An Post - Sean Kelly Team)
    Article published:
    February 12, 2010, 15:56 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Verandas Willems replaces Vorarlberg-Corratec in Belgian season opener

    An Post-Sean Kelly has been awarded the final wildcard slot for the Omloop Het Niuewsblad. In addition, Team Vorarlberg-Corratec has been replaced by Verandas Willems in the opening race of the Belgian season on February 27.

    The race will feature 25 teams, including 13 ProTour teams, 10 Professional Continental, and the two Continental teams.

    Race organiser Wm Van Herreweghe announced the final team line-up, saying that An Post-Sean Kelly's recent performances, “have managed to totally convince me. Niko Eeckhout and his team are clearly starting the season very ambitiously and deserved a place in the first Belgian race of the season,” he told the Belga news agency.

    At the recent Etoile de Besseges, Eeckhout and Pieter Ghyllebert each brought in a third place and second place, before Eeckhout won the final stage.

    The Belgian-based Continental team is happy to be in the race. “We had only a commitment for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in the opening weekend at home,” said sport manager Kurt Bogearts. “Now there is the Omloop. We certainly won't be lacking in motivation to ride these two races.”

    Van Herreweghe also said that the Austrian Professional Continental Team Vorarlberg-Corratec had told him it would not ride the race, to which it had received a wildcard invitation. Its place was given to the Belgian Continental team Verandas Willems.

    The teams for the 65th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad:

    ProTour teams: Omega Pharma-Lotto, Quick Step, Saxo Bank, AG2R-La Mondiale, Française des Jeux, Team Sky, Team Milram, Liquigas, Rabobank, Katusha, Garmin-Transitions, RadioShack, Team HTC-Columbia

    Professional Continental teams: Landbouwkrediet, Topsport Vlaanderen, BBox Bouygues Télécom, Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun, Acqua & Sapone, Skil-Shimano, Vacansoleil, Cervélo, BMC Racing Team