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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 1, 2010

Date published:
January 01, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Tour de Langkawi aiming for five-year commitment

    The peloton flies by Kuala Lumpur's Coliseum.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2009, 18:35 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Malaysian race wants a more secure future

    Following a couple of challenging years for the race, the Tour de Langkawi appears to be moving forward again more smoothly. It is hoped that a long-term commitment will be secured soon for the backing of the event.

    The 15th edition of the race will be held on March 1-7 and, depending on how that goes, things may become more straightforward as regards the future of the seven-day contest.

    "We have developed a plan with the Malaysian Government, the Malaysian National Cycling Federation [MNCF] and our sponsors for the next five years," LTDL Chief Executive Officer Mohamed bin Salleh said to Cyclingnews recently. "We hope to see it approved after the 2010 edition."

    If commitment is given for that period, it should help both the race and Malaysian cycling to develop. Tourism should also benefit, as the event plays an important role in showcasing the landscape, culture and customs of Malaysia.

    The 2.HC-ranked UCI Asia Tour event will take place three weeks later than the 2009 race. The date has been moved in order to avoid colliding with the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, and also to prevent an overlap with other Asian cycling races such as the Tours of Qatar and Oman.

    A total of 20 teams are expected to travel for the event, which was won in 2009 by José Serpa (Diquigiovanni-Androni).

    Aside from the date, Mohamed Salleh said that there will be an important change in the organisation of the race this coming season. It will be run by the Malaysian Youth and Sports Ministry, with the MNCF dropping back to the role of technical advisor. "The reason for this is because it is time to let the MNCF to fully focus on the development of our national cyclists, although we will still work together with the MNCF to ensure the success of LTDL," he said. "The most important thing is that the Tour will go on for many years to come.

    "Since the MNCF's...

  • Voigt not yet ready to call it quits

    Jens Voigt displays a look of pure determination.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2009, 18:47 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Acknowledges he probably won't win the Tour in his career

    Jens Voigt has finally faced the fact that he will now probably never win the Tour de France. "At 38 years old, I have finally realised and accepted that." The Saxo Bank rider, well known for his sense of humour, is not yet ready to stick his bike in the corner and forget about, though.

    He very much enjoys being "a part of this machine, part of his clockwork that must function perfectly in order to help one of the Schleck brothers to the Tour de France win," Voigt said in an interview with Eurosport.de.

    Plus, he added, he doesn't feel that he has given everything yet. He is not ready to call it quits. "I'm not at that point yet, and I absolutely don't want to be a bitter old man who grumbles: if only I had ridden another half year.

    "It doesn't have to end with a win, but I want to decide myself when it is time, and not be forced into it."

    The German also disclosed his special relationship with Lance Armstrong. When they race together, he says, the American comes to him and says, "I'm safe, I'm not the oldest here." Voigt is one day older than Armstrong.

    He thinks that Armstrong might be able to win the Tour in 2010. "Bjarne Riis is not so optimistic, but I believe he can do it. He didn't miss it by much this year, and next time he will have another season in his legs, that he can use." Voigt concluded, "I think the podium could look very similar to this year: one of the Schlecks, Contador and Lance."

    Voigt also addressed the return of Ivan Basso and Alexander Vinokourov to the peloton. He called Basso "the nicest, friendliest, most loyal person you can imagine," one who has paid for his transgressions. Vinokourov left the 2007 Tour in a doping scandal, but has also paid his time and is back. "That's just the way it is. You have to give the guys a chance."

  • Vaughters predicts big future for Dan Martin

    Irish phenom Dan Martin rode with everything but it was teammate Tyler Farrar who took fourth
    Article published:
    December 31, 2009, 19:10 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Irish rider showing big promise

    The 2009 season brought some important results for Irish rider Dan Martin, with third in the Tour of the Mediterranean, second in the Volta a Catalunya, fifth in the GP Ouest France and eighth in the Giro di Lombardia, and showed that he is making strong progress.

    Martin ended the season 35th in the world rankings, just four places off that of Lance Armstrong, and edged into the top 40 ahead of riders such as Vincenzo Nibali, Carlos Sastre, Tom Boonen, Bradley Wiggins and namesake Tony Martin. That’s not bad at all for a 23-year-old second-year pro.

    That progression has ensured the continued interest in him by his Garmin Transition team and, earlier this month, the team announced that it had extended his contract until the end of 2012.

    General manager Jonathan Vaughters is excited by the climber, even if he doesn’t yet know what to expect from him . "With Dan you still have got to wait and see where his talent goes – is he a GC rider for three-week Tours, is he a future winner of Liege-Bastogne-Liege, or is he more of a one week Dauphiné Libéré rider?" he said to Cyclingnews.

    "It is still a bit undetermined at the moment…he has only done one three week Tour. But do I think that Dan Martin is going to be one of the biggest names in the sport in two or three years? Absolutely."

    Martin’s strong GP Ouest France illustrated that promise, and served to boost his morale prior to the Vuelta. He said after the Plouay race that he thought he could have won, but he was slightly overgeared and was passed by the victor Simon Gerrans and his other breakaway companions with less than 75 meters to go.

    He was nonetheless motivated by the result and headed to the Spanish Tour aiming for a strong performance. However, he never really rode to his full capabilities, and had to be content with 14th on a stage and 53rd overall.

    "The Vuelta, his first ever three-week...

  • USA Cycling awards four scholarships to student cyclists

    Kay Sherwood is a winner of the Stenner Scholarship.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2009, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Sherwood, Reinert, Millsop, Clark recognized for on and off-bike accomplishments

    USA Cycling awarded four American student cyclists as scholarship recipients.

    Two winners of the Stenner Scholarship, Kay Sherwood of Colorado College and Nicholas Reinert of University of Pittsburgh, were each selected based on academic achievements, athletic accomplishments and service to the community with an emphasis on collegiate team involvement and leadership.

    The Kuck Memorial Scholarship winners, Union College's Rachel Millsop and Oscar Clark of Georgia State University, will receive a scholarship based on outstanding achievements in the areas of cycling safety, advocacy and education.

    Sherwood, a 22-year-old senior environmental policy major from Colorado Springs, Colorado, maintains a 3.4 grade point average while competing both on the road and in mountain biking for the Colorado College Cycling Team. After being introduced to cycling as a freshman, Sherwood was quick to enter her first bike race and went on to qualify for road nationals that year. The Tiger squad then introduced her to mountain biking where she went on to take the Division II short track national title as a sophomore. The Ipswich, Massachusetts, native has since collected four Collegiate National Championship medals on both the road and the mountain bike while working tirelessly to introduce more women to the sport and her Tiger team.

    As Vice-President of the University of Pittsburgh Cycling Club, Reinert of Mertztown, Pennsylvania, created a series of group training rides designed to help team members of all levels improve their skills, fitness and to increase safety awareness. The junior chemical engineering major also works as a coach for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center's Air Products Development Program while maintaining a 3.1 G.P.A. The multiple-time junior and collegiate track national champion looks to continue to educate his teammates and youngsters throughout his remaining years in the Panther cycling program.

    A cyclist, student,...

  • DJs Produce-Rocket Sports Racing Team announces 2010 squad

    Rocket Sports Racing Team Photo from a recent training camp.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2009, 22:06 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Junior development team finalized for new year

    The DJs Produce-Rocket Sports Racing Team, a junior development racing team based in Northern California, supported by Rocket Sports Foundation, Inc., has finalized its team roster for the 2010 season.

    California State Champions, Ryan Messersmith, Jon Christensen, and Sophia Fuller will co-captain the team which includes returning riders like California State Road Champion Robbie Farrens, Robert Terra, Stuart Fuller, Benjamin McDonald, Connor Phillips, Katelyn Messersmith, Abba Christensen, Bowen Terra, Stefan Fuller, and Jackson McDonald. Benjamin Binder is new to the team.

    In 2009, along with winning five California state championships titles, Rocket Sports Racing scored age group wins at the Cats Hill Criterium, the Cherry Pie Criterium, the Panoche Valley Road Race, the Davis Criterium, the Sacramento Cyclo-Cross Series, and four top 10 placing at USA Cycling's Junior Road National Championships.

    The squad will be coached by the long time USA Cycling juniors coach, Robert Fuller, and Tom Fahey, a multi-time national track champion.

    The team's title sponsor is DJs Produce, an organic produce company based from California's San Joaquin Valley. To follow the team, check out its blog at http://rocketsportsfoundation.blogspot.com.

  • Swiss BMC riders train in Spain

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    Article published:
    January 01, 2010, 10:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    High profile signings increase expectations for BMC

    Since the Swiss weather in December is hardly suited to long hours on the bike, five Swiss members of the BMC Racing Team spent two weeks on the island of Mallorca in order to get in the necessary base miles for the coming season.

    Martin Kohler, Mathias Frank, Thomas Frei, Florian Stalder and Alex Moos have been taking advantage of more suitable cycling weather conditions in Spain. "This is the second year in a row that we have come here to train in December," Kohler explained on the team's website. "We make a happy group; we can put in some serious hours every day.

    "We've had a few rainy days, but it is generally about 13°C, which is great considering we would be facing -3°C at home!" he joked. Though the riders have differing schedules, they are still able to take advantage of each others' training regimes. "Some of us start a little earlier so we'll slip in a few intervals, while some guys like Mathias and Florian have a later start and take it a touch easier," Kohler explained. "But we're all basically here to build up our endurance."

    With a number of high-powered riders joining BMC for the 2010 season, including World Champion Cadel Evans, the riders who have been on the team for the past several years feel an extra shot of motivation as well as a personal responsibility to live up to the heightened team expectations.

    "It has been amazing to watch how the team has been growing, particularly over the last several months," Kohler commented. "Big names are joining and we can seriously hope to be invited to the biggest races of the year."  The 24-year-old aims to play the part of the perfect team-mate while also working hard to earn his own opportunities at races.

    "In the big races, I'm sure I'll work for guys like George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan, but I'm always hopeful to gain some results of my own," Kohler claimed.

    With a strong sprint and a talent for riding very fast short time trials,...

  • Tony Martin named Germany's Cyclist of the Year

    Best young rider Tony Martin (Columbia-HTC) would surrender the white jersey to Andy Schleck.
    Article published:
    January 01, 2010, 11:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Columbia-HTC rider beats out Haussler and Spitz

    Tony Martin has been named Cyclist of the Year by readers of the German cycling federation's website, narrowly beating out Heinrich Haussler.

    Martin won 18.8 percent of the vote, with Haussler at 17.9 percent. Third was last year's winner, mountain biker Sabine Spitz. Andre Greipel, winner of 20 season victories and the points jersey at the Vuelta a España, was only seventh.

    Columbia-HTC's Martin first came to international notice in his 2008 ProTour debut season, but established himself in the world elite in 2009. He proved his versatility by winning the mountains classification in Paris-Nice, as well as time trial stages at the Critérium International and the Bayern Rundfahrt.

    At the Tour de Suisse, the 23-year-old won the difficult penultimate mountain stage to Crans-Montana. He then closed the race with a strong time trial, finishing second in the stage to move himself up to second overall.

    Martin continued to shine at the Tour de France, wearing the white jersey for the best young rider from stages three to 14. His finest moment came near the end of the race, as the Tour hit the legendary Mont Ventoux in the 20th stage. Martin joined an escape group which formed after only three kilometres, and hung on to the end, finishing second behind stage winner Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) by only three seconds. That performance gave the young German the day's award for most aggressive rider.

    Martin then topped off the season by winning the bronze medal at the World Championships time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Haussler, 25, won stage 13 of the Tour de France on top of four other wins this past year. He rode himself into the limelight in his first season with Cervélo TestTeam when he was nipped at the line by Columbia's Mark Cavendish in Milano-Sanremo.

  • Sastre: "2009 taught me a lot"

    Spaniard Carlos Sastre (Cervélo)
    Article published:
    January 01, 2010, 12:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cervélo leader looks back on mitigated season

    Carlos Sastre, 2008 Tour de France champion, has taken the time to reflect on the past year. On his personal website, the Cervélo leader stated that while not everything went to plan in the last season, the year's outcome has been "enriching in every sense".

    First, there was his involvement in setting up the new Cervélo TestTeam, which made Sastre "feel enthusiastic once again" after leaving his former team CSC. "[Cervélo] was created with a different philosophy and I was able to contribute both my experience from so many years in the profession and my personal seal."

    But this new beginning also had a negative side to it. "I have to admit that the physical and mental energy taken up in setting up the team became apparent at certain moments of the season," he said. "I sometimes felt a tiredness that was often more mental than it was physical. But as a general overview, I am satisfied with what I was able to contribute and what I have received from this great experience."

    After a season start at the Tour of California somewhat overshadowed by the bad weather and a resulting sinusitis, Sastre followed his racing schedule to be competitive at the Giro d'Italia. "Racing the Giro was intense and I really enjoyed this race," he continued, saying that his experiences at the 'Corsa Rosa' taught him valuable lessons about himself.

    "The two mountain stage victories, which were two very important stages in this Giro [stages 16 and 19 - ed.], gave me the opportunity to experience a new part of me: trying to fight for these stage victories that until now hadn't seemed interesting to me. I had always been a lot more focused on the general classification without concentrating on stage victories. This has helped me to carry on building my knowledge and personal experiences, allowing me to know things about myself that I had forgotten in recent years."

    In July, however, the Spaniard went through difficult times again,...