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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, February 5, 2010

Date published:
February 05, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Villumsen to make debut in kiwi colours

    Linda Villumsen of Auckland is second
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 0:07 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Shanks in strong road race squad

    Denmark-born cyclist Linda Villumsen will make her debut in BikeNZ colours at this month’s Women’s Tour of New Zealand, after becoming a New Zealand citizen last month. Villumsen was named in a strong BikeNZ squad for February 24-28 race, which included track rider Alison Shanks.

    Race director Jorge Sandoval said the high-profile riders’ presence at Oceania’s only International Cycling Union-registered women’s race helped raise the event’s profile. “It’s great the national team members will have world class opposition in their own country,” Sandoval said. “It also helps generate greater public interest in the NZCT tour when there are New Zealand riders figuring prominently over the five days.”

    National road and criterium champion Rushlee Buchanan will join Joanne Kiesanowski, Kaytee Boyd and 2005 tour winner Cath Cheatley in the BikeNZ squad. An 11 kilometre time trial on the third day plays into the hands of the BikeNZ squad’s general classification hopes.

    Villumsen was cleared by the UCI and Danish Cycling Federation to ride for New Zealand shortly after her citizenship was finalised last month. The 24-year-old rider is hopeful of qualifying to represent the nation at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.

  • Aussie King ready for Trek-Livestrong debut in Qatar

    Australia's Ben King is one of two Ben Kings on the Trek-Livestrong Under 23 squad.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 0:41 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Oman better suited to Armstrong’s squad

    While Australia’s Ben King has already pulled on a Trek-Livestrong jersey many times, next week’s Tour of Qatar will be the first time he’ll compete with his new squad. The Under 23 squad has secured a start in Qatar and the Tour of Oman, as just one of five non-ProTour squads to start the races.

    King expects Qatar to be a steep learning curve, with the team facing the difficulties presented by the region’s strong winds and the ProTour team’s strong sprinters. He hopes when the team reaches Oman it will have an opportunity to make its mark.

    “I have a basic idea of what is going to happen in Qatar,” King told Cyclingnews. “The wind is going to be screaming across the road at 30 knots, the flag drops and the field is stretched into 15 echelons. But Oman should be good for me and the younger guys on the squad to start to read and understand the dynamics of high-end professional bike racing. I mean that’s what we are all aiming to be, right?

    “We don't have a ProTour or Professional Continental squad at Trek-Livestrong U23 presented by Radioshack, but I think if we can take some chances and maybe show a few jokers in our hand when the time is right a jerseys or a top 10 in a stage would be fantastic,” he added.

    King has been clocking up the frequent flyer miles during the off season, travelling to the United States of America for two team camps and competing at home in the Australian Open Road Championships Under 23 race with team-mate and compatriot Tim Roe. King is sharing a house with Roe and other team-mates in Boulder, Colorado for the year.

    “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind couple of months to say the least,” King said. “Both of the camps have been a lot of fun, with the second camp in Solvang being a bit of a wash out, literally. I was sick of the trainer after that week.

    “I'm living in a house in Boulder -...

  • Armstrong adds South African trip to schedule

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) after the final stage of his second Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 2:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Impey bringing Tour winner to Argus race

    Lance Armstrong has announced he will join members from his RadioShack squad at South Africa’s Cape Argus Pick Pay Cycle Tour in March. Armstrong will travel to the race with South African team-mate Daryl Impey, after the JAG Foundation arranged for Armstrong to come to the African nation.

    JAG Foundation, which is a sport and education foundation helping disadvantaged kids, announced last year it would bring Armstrong to South Africa to help raise funds and awareness for its program. It wasn’t until this week that Armstrong confirmed he’d race the Argus event via micro blogging website Twitter.

    “With the aim of inspiring South Africa through sports, Lance and the JAG Foundation are extending an invitation to the public to attend the ‘Lance for Life’ events from 9 – 11 March,” said Cycle Lab’s Gary Marescia.” Also with the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour and the Absa Cape Epic around the corner, Lance’s arrival promises to engage and motivate local sports fans and the cycling community alike.”

    Armstrong’s itinerary while in Cape Town includes a visit to a local school, cycling with SA’s top business personalities and an exclusive banquet dinner and breakfast.

  • Lampre-Farnese Vini pressing ahead despite uncertainty

    All smiles: Lampre-Farnese Vini looked like a squad without a trouble in the world at the team launch.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 5:05 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Italian squad still up in the air

    Giuseppe Saronni’s Lampre-Farnese Vini has shown it’s moving ahead with its 2010 plans by holding the team’s launch. The Italian squad will start its season with a temporary ProTour license while it attempts to satisfy the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) requirements.

    The UCI’s License Commission granted the temporary ProTour license, which is valid until March 31, on January 25. The license came after the year’s first ProTour race, Tour Down Under, had already commenced and so the team has already missed one round of the series.

    The commission rejected the team's license last fall after auditors noted "serious administrative non-compliances" in its application.

    Lampre contested its first race of the season, Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria-Challenge Calabria, last week in Italy. The team claimed its first victories of 2010 with Alessandro Petacchi winning two stages while Daniele Pietropolli finished third overall.

    Should the squad not meet the UCI’s demands by March 31 it could cease to exist. UCI president Pat McQuaid revealed at Tour Down Under the team will not be granted a Professional Continental license if it fails to meet the ProTour requirements, as it’s now had ample time to get its affairs in order.

    Click here to see the launch gallery.

    Lampre-Farnese Vini 2010 roster: Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita), Grega Bole (Slo), Matteo Bono (Ita), Vitaliy Buts (Ukr), Damiano Cunego (Ita), Mauro Da Dalto (Ita), Angelo Furlan (Ita), Francesco Gavazzi (Ita), Andrea Grendene (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), David Loosli (Swi), Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita), Marco Marzano (Ita), Manuele Mori (Ita), Alessandro Petacchi (Ita), Daniele Pietropolli (Ita), Daniele Righi (Ita), Marcin Sapa (Pol), Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita), Simon Spilak (Slo), Alfredo Balloni...

  • Cardoso to lead Footon-Servetto in Langkawi

    Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto) wins stage three of the Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 10:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Malaysian race secures one ProTour squad

    The Le Tour de Langkawi has secured its first ProTour squad for the 2010 edition just weeks before the event starts, with Footon-Servetto joining the team roster. Footon confirmed it will send a squad led by Tour Down Under stage winner Manuel Cardoso, the current Portuguese national road champion.

    Cardoso won’t be the only national road champion Footon-Servetto brings to Langkawi with Austrian road race champion Markus Eibegger being joined by compatriot and time trial champion Matthias Brandle. The roster will feature two Spanish riders in neo professional Pedro Merino and Tour de San Luis stage winner Rafael Valls.

    Australian Johnnie Walker will return to Langkawi with the squad, having previously contested the event with the team.

    The team of Mario Gianetti provided one of the highlights at last year’s race, with the revelation of former mountain biker Frederrik Kessiakoff’s abilities on a road bike.

    Traditionally held in early February Langkawi has struggled to attract its usual level of teams, with its new March 1-7 date on the doorstep of Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. Gianni Savio’s Androni-Diquigiovanni, which is usually dominant at the Malaysian race, won’t contest this year’s edition due to its proximity to Adriatico.

    Prior to Footon-Servetoo’s commitment to the race, it had no ProTour outfits and just one Professional Continental team competing in ISD-Neri. The remainder of the teams are continental or national squads like Drapac Porsche and Jayco Skins.

  • Cancellara starting under Arabian sun

    Fabian Cancellara en route to a dominating win at the 2009 time trial world championship in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 10:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swiss missed much of January training camp due to influenza

    Fabian Cancellara of Saxo Bank has joined the list of those whose off-season preparations have not gone according to plan. The World time trial champion was laid low for 10 days with influenza the beginning of the year, and had to miss much of the team's training camp on the Spanish island of Fuertaventura.

    To catch up, the 28-year-old took his family to Spain and trained there, according to the Berner Zeitung, before making his way to his first race of the season, the Tour of Qatar, to be followed by the Tour of Oman.

    The Swiss rider is not looking for results in the two desert races, which will be marked by strong winds and mass sprint finishes. His first season test will be Tirreno-Adriatico mid-March. Reportedly, he will again skip Milano-Sanremo, which he won in 2008. Cancellara is set to ride the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Tour de Suisse, where he will be defending the overall title, and the Tour de France.

    Any other racing will depend upon his form at the time, he said.

    In 2009, in addition to the World time trial title and the Tour de Suisse overall, Cancellara won the opening time trial at the Tour de France and wore the leader's yellow jersey for six stages. He won both time trials at the Vuelta de Espana and wore the leader's gold jersey in that race for five stages. Last year, Cancellara started all three Grand Tours, but finished only the Tour de France.

  • Meersman out for two months

    Belgian Gianni Meersman (Française des Jeux) was just 15 seconds off the pace.
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 10:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Return of back and leg problems thought solved by 2009 surgery

    Gianni Meersman, who missed much of last season due to back problems and surgery, is facing more of the same this year. It is not yet known whether he will need further surgery.

    The Francaise des Jeux rider said that his training for the new season had begun well, until the pain in his left leg returned three weeks ago, the same pain as he had last year. “I met the team doctor in Paris on Wednesday,” he told Sportwereld. “At first the doctors thought that the problem was caused by scar tissue, but that is not so.”

    The 24-year-old said that the problem arose last March, and he underwent surgery the end of June. He returned to racing in August, riding both on the track and the road. His last race was the Grenoble Six Days race in the beginning of November, where he said that he was pain-free.

  • Hovelijnck racing for the first time in 11 months

    Kieran Page (Pezula Racing Team) and Kurt Hovelijnck (Topsport Vlaanderen)
    Article published:
    February 05, 2010, 11:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Three weeks in induced coma with skull fracture in 2009

    Kurt Hovelijnck is starting his season this Sunday at the Mallorca Challenge, as are many other riders. But unlike the others, simply being able to start in the race is a victory for the Belgian rider.

    Last March, Hovelijnck was training with teammate Wouter Weylandt when he crashed and fractured his skull. He was placed in an induced coma for three weeks, but as he says, “I was very lucky.”

    When he came back to consciousness, however, the 28-year-old was feeling depressed, he told Sportwereld. “I had just been given a great opportunity: a ProTour contract with Quick Step. I was a teammate of Tom Boonen, Stijn Devolder. I was eager to ride for these men. At the Tour Down Under I even had a chat with Lance Armstrong. Or rather, he had one with me. And then, suddenly, everything was over!”

    How did he come through? “A man is stronger than he thinks,” Hovelijnck said. He made himself work harder than ever before, but admitted that “I still had days when I no longer believed.”

    He succeeded, however, and now is eager to put himself to the test. “To be honest, I am confident, ” added Hovelijnck, proving this at the team's training camp, riding alongside “guys like Boonen, Devolder and Chavanel. I could easily follow them. Hence my confidence. It's weird, but I'm just more explosive that before.”

    He knows, however, that others still doubt that he is ready for the season's challenges. He told the team he wants to ride the opening Belgian races, “but they wrote me in as a reserve. They didn't want me to rush in to anything.

    “You know that the problem is?” Hovelijnck concluded. “I have no patience!”