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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 6, 2012

Date published:
January 06, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Boom would rather ride Tour of Poland than Tour de France

    Lars Boom
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 10:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rabobank rider wants stage wins and preparation for Olympics

    Lars Boom will skip the Tour de France this year. The Rabobank rider sees the Tour of Poland as a better race for him to look for stage wins and to prepare for the London Olympics, where he hopes to ride both the time trial and the road race.

    “I would really like to ride the Tour for myself, but I understand that our team is built around Robert Gesink and a few other GC riders,” he told the ANP news agency.

    “Last year I rode for Robert Gesink. There's nothing wrong with that and it also went just fine. But a stage win is the biggest thing in the Tour for me.”

    Boom will now look for those stage wins in Poland. "I think it's a better preparation for the Games. Then I do hope to ride the Tour of Spain, shortly before the world championships. "

    This weekend he will look to take his sixth consecutive Dutch national cyclo-cross title, after which he will devote himself again to the road.

  • Gallery: AG2R-La Mondiale looking for more in 2012

    The 2012 AG2R-La Mondiale team
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 19:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    20th anniversary of French team

    As it kicks off its 20th season in the professional peloton, the French AG2R-La Mondiale squad of manager Vincent Lavenu is re-evaluating its strategies and looking to improve upon a dismally low victory count of six from 2011.

    Ranked second to last of the WorldTour teams, Lavenu looked outside his native land for recruits in order to boost his points tally to ensure a place in the sport's top tier. He hired Iranian Amir Zargari (third overall in the UCI's Asia Tour in 2011), Russian sprint ace Boris Shpilevskiy, Tour of Qinghai Lake winner Gregor Gazvoda of Slovenia and Italian sprinter Manuel Belletti.

    Lavenu also brought French sprinter Jimmy Casper back to the WorldTour after a three-year hiatus. Casper, 34, ran afoul of the anti-doping authorities in the 2008 Tour de France when his therapeutic use exemption for his asthma medicine was not updated and he was declared positive. He has spent the past three seasons with the Saur Sojasun team.

    Also joining the team is neo-pro Romain Bardet and Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour winner Sylvain Georges from Big Mat-Auber 93.

    With the new additions, the team aims to increase its number of one-day race and stage victories, while still relying on riders such as Nicolas Roche, Jean-Christophe Péraud and John Gadret for the general classifications.

    At the team's presentation in Paris, Gadret revealed that he would focus his season on the Giro d'Italia, and skip the Tour de France, which he failed to finish in 2011 after taking fourth in the Giro.

    "It was a mistake," Gadret said of racing the Tour, according to L'Equipe. "I will not do it again."

    With a sole focus on the Giro d'Italia, Gadret hopes to improve upon last year's result...

  • Petacchi to start 2012 at Tour Down Under

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD)
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 20:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian not ready to retire, aims for Tour's green jersey

    At 38 years of age, Alessandro Petacchi is one of the oldest sprinters in the peloton but while most fast men lose their edge over the years, the Italian is still sharp, looking to take home the green points classification at the Tour de France in 2012.  He isn't even thinking about retirement.

    Petacchi is stepping up his game for 2012 to attempt to beat the reigning world champion, Mark Cavendish, and rather than remain in Europe, he has chosen to begin his season at the Santos Tour Down Under with his Lampre-ISD team.

    "I'm still able to ride, perhaps because I lost a year in 2006, and so I still have a year of energy to spend," Petacchi said in an interview with  "I don't think that the season that's about to start is my last season, I'd like to do another year."

    Petacchi's peak came in 2003, when he claimed 15 Grand Tour stages, four in the Giro d'Italia, six in the Tour de France and five in the Vuelta a España. He earned a massive nine stage wins in the Giro the following year, taking out the points classification, and ended the year with four Vuelta stages.

    A steady string of Grand Tour stages followed in 2005, along with his win in Milan-San Remo, his only Monument to date. His chances to add to his Grand Tour tally ended in 2006 when he broke his kneecap in a crash at the Giro d'Italia, and his five Giro stages of 2007 were disqualified after he tested positive for excessive asthma medicine following stage 11.

    Despite the setbacks, he is still the number four ranked Italian in terms of overall victories, behind Francesco Moser, Giuseppe Saronni and Mario Cipollini.


  • Kitchen alleges collusion between GreenEdge-AIS and AIS squads

    Lauren Kitchen (Rabobank Cycling Team) in the bunch.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 21:30 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Rabobank recruit hopes to upset new team's hot run in road race

    New Rabobank signing Lauren Kitchen was feeling the frustration of being one in a battle against many on Thursday at the Australian Criterium Championship, where she finished with a bronze medal in the under 23 division behind GreenEdge-AIS' Melissa Hoskins and SASI rider Annette Edmondson.

    As defending champion in the event, Kitchen was one of the favourites, but did not have the extra leg work acquired by some of her rivals at the Jayco Bay Series Classic earlier in the week.

    "It's always difficult because you're going to be marked being the defending champion but I think the most difficult thing was coming by myself without a team this year but that's exciting to go to a bigger team to race for the rest of the season, so it's good," the 21-year-old said.

    "I got off to a good start and have had a good hit out so hopefully for the road race we can get some good results as well."

    Kitchen made particular mention of the form of the GreenEdge-AIS team, suggesting that the rest of the field was becoming a victim of the new professional squad working with the assistance of the AIS team, also entered in the race.

    "Even though they're in different jerseys I think it's a little bit evident to a lot of people that they're riding as one team," Kitchen said, a former member of the national Jayco-AIS squad before being signed to Rabobank. "That's nearly half the field when it's halfway through the race. It makes it very difficult for anyone to get off the front or do anything else in the race."

    The GreenEdge-AIS team later denied colluding with the AIS squad.

    Having had a stunning 2011 titles,...

  • Gallery: Team Movistar squad for 2012

    Alejandro Valverde
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 23:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Valverde comeback and Cobo unveiled

    Team Movistar will be hoping that two grand signings in the form of Alejandro Valverde and Juan Jose Cobo Acebo will bring the team success in 2012.

    The Spanish team were presented in Madrid earlier this week with both Spaniards pulling on a Movistar jersey for the first time. Both riders had previously ridden for the team in it's previous incarnation as Caisse d'Epargne. However Valverde missed Movistar's debut season in 2011 due to a doping related ban, while Cobo raced at Geox-TMC, where he won the Vuelta a Espana.

    “I hope to ride like I did in the last two months of last season,” Cobo said. “Winning the Vuelta didn’t so much change my life as change my mentality. Thanks to that, I’m now super motivated and that’s what I needed.”

    Eusebio Unzue confirmed that Cobo will be on hand to defend his red jersey when the Vuelta gets underway in Pamplona on August 18, and hinted that he will ride the Tour de France beforehand. However, he was reluctant to rule out the possibility that Cobo might instead lead the squad at the Giro d’Italia.


  • Forum Hot Topic: Giro d'Italia Wild Cards

    The 2012 Giro d'Italia route was presented in Milan on Sunday.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 10:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cyclingnews readers vote for Italian and Colombian teams

    If the users of the Cyclingnews forum could issue wildcard invitations, then three Italilan teams and a Colombian team would receive the wildcard inviations to this year's Giro d'Italia. The list of teams which was voted on did not, however, include all 14 of the teams announced by RCS Sport earlier this week.

    Androni Giacttoli, Colombia Coldeportes, Acqua & Sapone and Farnese Vini were the four lucky “winners”, handily beating all other possibilities. Giro organisers will announce their final selection on January 10.

    Androni was the clear top favourite, with 85 votes. It features Jose Rujano, who finished third in the race in 2005 and also won a stage and the mountains jersey. He also won a stage in 2011. “I think that Androni must be assured of a place as they have one of the favourites alongwith a whole raft of top climbers (serpa, sella etc),” said user Froome19.

    Acqua & Sapone and Colombia Coldeportes tied for second place, with 69 votes each. The Italian team seems an obvious choice because it boasts two former Giro winners. “Acqua have Di Luca and Garzelli, two former winners who can be relied upon to go for stage wins and KOM titles at least, plus an emerging star in Carlos Betancourt,” said will10.

    But Colombia-Coldeportes also seems a clear-cut choice for a mountainous Giro, with its many climbers. “A lot of the Colombians will be rookies when it comes to riding a GT, but I don't think they will be short of entertainment and trying to get in breaks and get a stage win in the mountain stages, and Colombia has a proud cycling history,” said Craig1985.

  • Bakelants replaces Hermans at Tour Down Under

    Ben Hermans is looking to continue his development in 2012.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 11:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack-Nissan rider pulls out with hip pain

    Ben Hermans has to postpone his seasonal debut, due to pains in his hip. His place on the RadioShack-Nissan squad at the Santos Tour Down Under will be taken by Jan Bakelants.

    “I have only been able train for three hours since December 15,” the 25-year-old Belgian told La Derniere Heure. 

    The problem first started at the team's training camp in Calpe last month. “The pain is so bad that I can't work out.”

    No one is sure what the problem is. “I have undergone many tests, but the doctors can't find the cause,” he said. “I'm getting really worried.”

  • Did Cavendish miss an out of competition dope test?

    Mark Cavendish clinches the 2011 World Championship
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 11:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian newspaper makes claim relating to 2011

    Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport are reporting that current world champion Mark Cavendish missed at least one out of competition dope test during 2011. If a rider misses three out of competition tests in an 18-month period they qualify for sanctioning.

    Today's print edition of the paper states that "multiple sources" have confirmed the story, suggesting it to be a bureaucratic error on the British sprinter's part rather than anything else. The paper suggests that the main problem has been the fact that Cavendish spent less time at his usual base in Tuscany in 2011 and more time back in England with his pregnant girlfriend, making his whereabouts less easy to pin down.

    UCI President Pat McQuaid denied any knowledge of the alleged missed test. "I don't know if this is true," he told the newspaper. "If a rider jumps one or two checks I am not informed."

    Cavendish enjoyed a spectacular 2011, winning the world championship in Copenhagen and the green jersey at the Tour De France. He also received two huge personal honours back home in his native Great Britain - an MBE for services to British cycling from The Queen and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. His big money transfer to Team Sky, where he will line-up alongside fellow British stars Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas, also made the headlines.