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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 3, 2012

Date published:
February 03, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Greipel out of Tour of Qatar

    Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) has an enviable record at the Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 12:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fever takes out German powerhouse

    André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) has been ruled out of the Tour of Qatar with illness. The German sprinter had been expected to contend the sprints after a superb showing at the Tour Down Under, where he won three stages. His team expect him to recover for the Tour of Oman which starts later this month.

    Greipel took part in the team's presentation on Wednesday, but by the end of the day was complaining of stomach problems and fever.

    Team doctor Jan Mathieu said, "A medical examination this morning confirmed that Andre Greipel has fever and suffers from a viral gastro-enteritis."

    Team boss Marc Sergeant decided to pull the German from Qatar. "Due to the very short timeframe in which we have to decide and organize, we will take André Greipel out of our selection for the Tour of Qatar. ASO has been informed of our decision. Races over there are so hard riders need to be in good health, otherwise this could endanger the season . However, at this moment we maintain André in our selection for Oman. We hope we can still select Jonas Van Genechten, who was our back-up rider, as our 8th rider for Qatar."


  • Clásica de Almería in financial difficulties

    UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling riders on the start line.
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 14:36 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Updated: Late February’s race overcomes a significant shortfall in funding

    The organisers of the Clásica de Almería revealed that this month’s edition of the well-established one-day race was in jeopardy due to a lack of funding. Scheduled to take place on Feburary 26, the 27th edition of the event had a 30,000-euro hole in its 110,000-euro budget, largely because local government agencies have not fulfilled their commitments in previous seasons.  However, the officials of Almería have since stepped forward and taken measures to ensure the race will happen.

    José Manuel Muñoz from Alcide, the organization behind the race, had told La Verdad that the race is “closer to not happening than it is to taking place”. While not wanting to point the finger of blame at anyone in particular, Muñoz said that “there are people who could have done things before in the right time and place which they are only now trying to do now”.

    He explained that, although the organisation is getting strong support from the present Almerian regional government, the previous administration had acted “very badly” when it came to coming up with funds promised to the event. A few of the local councils involved had, he said, also failed to honour their commitments, some dating as far back as 2005.

    “It’s a complicated situation,” Muñoz admitted. “In the face of this type of uncertainty, it’s difficult to move forwards. There are certain deadlines that have to be met and processes that have to be fulfilled. It’s no good getting the money that’s required three weeks after you need it. Once the calendar is set out, rules have to be published, contracts signed and presented to the UCI. But we’re not able to do this because we can’t finalise them.”

    Muñoz had explained that this situation brought an additional concern: that teams might take action against the race organisers...

  • Drama to the last for Paris-Nice

    Christian Prudhomme announces the route of the 2012 Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 16:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Time trial to provide final stage fireworks

    The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced today the route of this year's Paris-Nice, rolling out a fresh parcours complete with two individual time trials bookending the eight-stage event.

    Heading out from Dampierre-en-Yvelines to Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse on opening day, Sunday March 4, riders will face a 9.4km individual time trial, but it will be the 9.6km uphill test from Nice to the top of the Col d'Èze, which will bring in the stars for the event.

    The ASO confirmed that 10 of the top 15 in last year's Tour de France have committed to racing Paris-Nice, including the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank.

    Without extended time trial kilometers, last year's champion Tony Martin may have to cede race leader's duties to his new Omega Pharma-Quickstep teammate Levi Leipheimer or Sylvain Chavanel. The team will be up against stiff competition from rival teams, including RadioShack-Nissan with the Schlecks, Astana's Janez Brajkovic, BMC with Tejay Van Garderen, as well as perennial French favourites Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Sky's Christopher Froome, Rabobank's former winner Luis-Leon Sanchez or Liquigas' Ivan Basso.

    While the main separation will come in the final stage, the middle six stages will provide their own opportunities for the aggressors. After two relatively flat stages, first from Mantes-la-Jolie to Orléans and then one to Le Lac de Vassivière, the roads begin to undulate. Stage four to Rodez is a decidedly lumpy route with a kick up to the finish at the end of 183km, giving a good chance for a late breakaway artist to steal some time.

    However, it is the following stage's finale atop the Monteé Laurent Jalabert in Mende (La Croix Neuve) - a 10.1% average grade for 3km - which will provide the first true separations...

  • Contador says things have not been easy since 2004

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 19:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Saxo Bank leader reflects on San Luis success and career as a whole

    As he awaits the Court of Arbitration for Sport's verdict on whether he should be banned following his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France, Alberto Contador has admitted that his career has not followed a smooth path since he was affected by a life-threatening brain injury in 2004. He also revealed that he has been doing all he can to distract himself from thinking about his case, and that it was partly his desire for distraction that encouraged him to ride the Tour de San Luis in Argentina last week.

    Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with Basque newspaper El Correo, the Saxo Bank team leader said of his current desire for distraction, "I try to do whatever I can to distract myself, to have the whole day planned out, although sometimes it's difficult. I enjoy the bike and racing and this does help, but sometimes things come into your head and you ask yourself why you are in this situation. My sporting life hasn't followed an easy part since I had my accident in 2004. But that made me see things from a different point of view. It helps me to distract myself."

    He confessed that he has also been filling up his days with more appointments than he would usually like, but has enjoyed getting back into training over the last few weeks having barely touched the bike since the end of the Tour de France last July. In fact, he admitted that he had done so little riding during that period that his brother/manager, Francisco, had wondered if Contador had laid off the bike for too long. During that down time, Contador...

  • Gallery: Lampre-ISD's team presentation

    Dmytro Krivstov and Yuriy Krivstov
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 21:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Scarponi, Cunego and Petacchi lead the Italian squadra

    Lampre-ISD's 28-man squad was unveiled at a presentation in San Vincenzo, Italy on Thursday. The Italian WorldTour team brought out their stalwarts, Michele Scarponi, Daniano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi but also used the opportunity to push their Ukranian bloc, which now consists of five riders, Vitaliy Buts, Denys Kostyuk, Dmytro Krivtsov, Yuriy Krivtsov, Oleksandr Kvachuk and new signing Oleksandr Sheydyk.

    The Lampre-ISD partnership began last year with and has another two years left to run on its current deal, with the ISD Continental team acting a feeder team for the WorldTour arm.

    However, when the team's European race programme begins this weekend, all eyes will be on the likes of Petacchi, Scarponi and Cunego, a three-pronged Italian attack on Grand Tours, one-day Classics and almost everything in between.

    Last year the team won 26 races, an adequate return by any standards but with Scarponi awaiting the CAS ruling over Alberto Contador, their biggest victory could be decided in a court room. Scarponi finished a distant second to Contador in last year's Giro but may still be crowned champion if the Spaniard is handed a retrospective ban.

  • Video: The 2012 SRAM Red groupset in action

    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 21:59 GMT
    James Huang

    We bring you insider access to the new and eagerly anticipated group

    A few years of experience – six years since the original Force, more than four since the first Red – have done the new 2013 SRAM Red group, unveiled yesterday, a lot of good. Not only does it shift and brake better than the previous version, it's also 150g lighter, more refined in its feel and operation, and more mature in its presentation. We've only managed a few hours on the new kit thus far but it's already leaving a positive impression.

    We bring you insider access to the new and eagerly anticipated SRAM Red 2012 groupset with this unique video:

  • RusVelo, Europcar nab final Amstel Gold wildcards

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) launches his race-winning attack on the Cauberg at Amstel Gold Race
    Article published:
    February 02, 2012, 22:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    24 teams on Dutch classic's roster

    The organisers of the Amstel Gold Race announced today the final two teams to compete in this year's race, with the RusVelo and Europcar squads getting the nod.

    Along with the 18 WorldTour teams and the two latest signings, previously announced wildcard invitees Project 1t4i, Lotto-Belisol, Landbouwkrediet-Euphony and Accent.Jobs-Willems Verandas complete the 24-team roster for the only Dutch Classic that takes place on Sunday, April 15.

    Left out of the chance to battle defending champion Philippe Gilbert for glory on the Cauberg is the Cofidis squad, which was given a wildcard last year. None of the Italian or American professional continental teams were awarded entry to the race.

    Despite being entirely comprised of Russian riders, RusVelo's Dutch connections helped it earn a place in the event. The team has as one of its directeurs sportif former Netherlands national team coach Egon Van Kessel.

    Europcar, in addition to having race animators like Pierre Rolland and Thomas Voeckler, is led by Jean-Rene Beraudeau who took a podium spot at the world championships in Valkenburg in 1979.

    Teams for Amstel Gold Race 2012:

    AG2R La Mondiale
    Pro Team Astana
    BMC Racing Team
    Euskaltel - Euskadi
    FDJ-Big Mat
    Garmin - Barracuda
    Green Edge Cycling Team
    Katusha Team
    Lampre - ISD
    Liquigas - Cannondale
    Belisol Team Lotto
    Team Movistar
    Omega Pharma-Quick Step
    Rabobank Cycling Team
    Radioshack - Nissan
    Sky Pro Cycling
    Team Saxo Bank
    Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    1T4I Project
    Lotto / Mercator
    William Accent team


  • BikeNZ offer PureBlack Racing eleventh-hour lifeline

    Tim Gudsell (Pure Black Racing) wins Stage 6 into Gore
    Article published:
    February 03, 2012, 0:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Combined team hoping to still pursue overseas racing

    New Zealand's national cycling federation BikeNZ has come to the rescue of the financially hamstrung PureBlack Racing team, with the two organisations forming a partnership that will see the team able to continue in 2012.

    PureBlack Racing had ambitious plans for its future in the sport, telling Cyclingnews early last year that the team hoped to launch a ProConti or WorldTour team by 2015. Those ambitions were dismantled however in December of last year when finances dried up, and a difficult domestic economic environment proved debilitating to the team's future.

    "The impact of the Rugby World Cup and the Christchurch disaster have made it a really tough year to raise funding for emerging sports like cycling and international programmes like PureBlack Racing," said Greg Cross when he reported on a grim future for the team late last year.

    But after nearly two months of negotiations, BikeNZ have come to the rescue, with both organisations hoping this fresh partnership will breathe new life into the team. The team will race as a national squad, giving it eligibility at key races such as the Tour de Langkawi to which they've been invited. The full calendar is yet to be decided.

    BikeNZ's Kieran Turner felt that it would be too big a loss to allow Pure Black to fold, and added there were significant synergies to be taken advantage of by the exisiting national team set up.

    "PureBlack Racing has done a great job of promoting cycling, both in New Zealand and internationally and has proven they have the talent, management and technical expertise required to support an international cycling team. We have too few teams like PureBlack and Subway Pro Cycling and cannot afford to lose these expertise."

    Turner explained that the use of facilities and a shared calendar made it a natural extension to create a...