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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 7, 2011

Date published:
January 07, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • O'Grady leads Leopard-Trek at Tour Down Under

    Stuart O'Grady at this year's Tour de France
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 3:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian veteran battles injury to open 2011 account

    Two-time winner of the Tour Down Under, Stuart O'Grady will lead his new Leopard-Trek outfit at this year's Santos Tour Down Under despite breaking two ribs in a skiing incident last month.

    The Australian, 37, admits he will not be in contention for the general classification due to the injuries he suffered but he will instead use the event to continue building on his training form gained in November and then move onto the Classics later in the year.

    "I think it will be a great team and everyone's excited. The guys have said 'no pressure', but can you please get a result so I'll do everything I can to try and get a result," said O'Grady.

    The 2007 Paris-Roubaix champion had been slated to be the team's hope for overall honours at the opening round of the ProTour but the accident hampered his preparations and he conceded last month that his chances of being ready to vie for his third win in the event were extremely slim.

    "I was really happy to take on the leadership role and try to get a result for the team; having been the domestique for every race I'm in it was kind of a nice opportunity to come down on Australian soil and actually have a crack for a result," he had stated after his accident last month.

    Several weeks later and O'Grady is putting on a brave face heading into what has become a sprinter's event. "I won't be 100 per cent; there's no hiding in this sport, I'll do the best I can. I've got the whole team coming to support me and I hope I can get a result.

    "It's a tough call - I really would have like to come here and achieved a top 10 - at the moment if I could pull off a top 10 it would be a miracle," he said.

    "It would have been a difficult situation with what is going to be a sprinter's paradise, however. The sprinters make it extremely tough to get near the podium but just having that freedom to go and have a crack excited me, to be honest."

    While he won't be in peak condition, it's...

  • Grenda lives up to an illustrious name

    A Mars a day: Ben Grenda (Genesys Wealth Advisers) with his spoils on the podium
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 5:30 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Tasmanian continues family tradition

    Ben Grenda's Australian national title in the under-23 men's criterium yesterday was testament to how hard he has worked over the last few years. The 20-year old has developed quickly as a cyclist and still can't believe he is an Australian champion.

    "I'm thrilled to win a national title," Grenda told Cyclingnews. "It was good waking up and seeing the gold medal next to me. It really hasn't sunk in yet. When the championships are over I'll look back and appreciate the win more but at the moment, my focus is on the road race tomorrow."

    A double could be on the cards for the Launceston cyclist. He finished 11th last year in the under-23 road race and believes he is fitter and better prepared this year.

    "This year I am much fitter and feeling better. I was dropped on the last lap in 2010 and if I can get over the climbs tomorrow, I think I will be able to sprint very well."

    Ben Grenda is a fourth generation cyclist, the 'Grenda' name being one of the most renouned names in Australian cycling.

    Grenda's great, great uncle, Alfred was a World Tandem Championship winner with Walter de Maria in 1912. He enjoyed success in Six Day races from 1914-1920 and his victories were due to sublime strength.

    Alf's nephew, Ron was a similar rider. He won the Latrobe Wheel Race in 1971 including some six-day events (including one at Launceston). He won three national sprint titles during his career.

    Ben's father, Michael, the son of Ron won a few Tasmanian and National titles as well as gold medals in the 4000-metre team pursuit at the 1982 Commonwealth and 1984 Olympic Games.

    Grenda started racing when he was 10 years old - he wanted to ride bikes but his father wasn't keen on the idea because he knew how hard the sport can be physically and mentally in addition to the commitment required and dangers involved in cycling.

    "My dad didn't want me to ride at first but when he realised I wanted to ride, he...

  • Davis looks towards the National titles

    Bronze medalist Allan Davis (Australia)
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 6:05 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Sprinter happy with form heading to Ballarat

    Australian sprinter Allan Davis is looking forward to contesting the National Road Race on Sunday. The 30-year old is heading into the race refreshed and is hopeful of a worthy result over the 163km course.

    "The form is coming along well," Davis told Cyclingnews. "This is the time of the year where I have done a lot of foundation work. After the Commonwealth Games last year I did a lot of work in the gym and tried some other sports like boxing to refresh myself ahead of the 2011 season."

    Davis is happy with his preparation and confident he will have what it takes to achieve a high finish.

    "Everything has gone to plan except for the floods in Bunderberg. That was out of my control and it's a tough time for everyone up there. I went well in the Jayco Bay Series which was probably the hardest series we have ever contested."

    Davis knows it's going to be tough to claim the green and gold jersey, but is hopeful his experience will pay off in the end.

    "It's a tough course. There are a lot of guys in good condition who have trained specifically for the race. The Sulzberger brothers [Bernard and Wes] are strong at the moment, as is Simon Gerrans so it's going to be tough."

    "Some guys are 20 per cent ahead of me but hopefully my experience, mind and tactics can give me a good result on Sunday."

    After the Nationals, Davis will focus on the Santos Tour Down Under where he will aim to win the event for the second time.

    "After the Tour Down Under I will look to the spring classics, particularly Milan San-Remo. From there I will concentrate on the Tour de France and finish the season with the World Championships."

  • Fränk Schleck says he was not involved in foundation of Leopard-Trek

    Frank Schleck and Brian Nygaard share a joke on stage
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 7:56 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Schleck brothers received first concrete offer in June

    Fränk Schleck (Leopard-Trek) has said that he and his brother Andy were not involved in the initial development of their new team and that they only received a concrete offer to join after the Tour of Luxembourg in June. The pair left Saxo Bank to sign for the Luxembourg squad.

    “I’m not going to say that I’d never heard anything, because I’d heard all the rumours but rumours were of no interest to us,” Schleck at the Leopard-Trek team presentation in Luxembourg on Thursday. “Then after the Tour of Luxembourg we had a concrete offer, which was interesting.”

    Schleck said that he and Andy were upfront with Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis throughout the process, and explained to him that the lure of leading a home-based team was simply too great to resist.

    “Three days after we received the offer we went to Bjarne and we told him in time and very nicely,” Schleck said. “We thanked him for the eight years that he gave us and for helping us to grow and we’re still thankful to him for what he did for us.

    “We were fair with him. We told him three days after we heard ourselves. We just told him that a dream was coming true. There was an opportunity in Luxembourg that was going to happen and I loved the idea already.”

    Schleck was reticent to talk about his brother Andy’s expulsion from Saxo Bank’s Vuelta a España team after he broke the team’s internal code on alcohol consumption, but he insisted that his respect for Riis remained intact throughout the affair.

    “It’s an old story. Bjarne was the boss and I respected the boss,” Schleck said. “I didn’t necessarily agree with it, but I respected his decision.”

    Schleck was happier to discuss his new Leopard-Trek line-up and he underlined his enthusiasm at the prospect of riding with a number of his closest friends.


  • Kristoff sees chance to out-sprint Cavendish

    BMC's Norwegian Alexander Kristoff took the best young rider jersey into stage two.
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 8:56 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    BMC's Norwegian has high hopes for Tour Down Under

    Alexander Kristoff of BMC Racing Team has not yet beaten Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) in a sprint but the young Norwegian believes there's a first time for everything. And perhaps that first time will be at the Tour Down Under late this month.

    “If it all works out, I can beat him,” he told “Otherwise I should find something else to do.”

    He knows that his best chance is if Cavendish is distracted. “If he thinks too much about Andre Greipel, for example, I can have a chance. They can mark each other and make a mistake. That would open opportunities for others.”

    Cavendish and Greipel were teammates at HTC until this year. Greipel, who now rides for Omega Pharma-Lotto, has won the TDU twice with eight stage wins to boot. Their often verbal rivalry will now be acted out on the road, starting at the Cancer Council Classic criterium on Sunday January 16.

    Kristoff, who is going into his second year at BMC, has been training in the Canary Islands and is on his way to Australia. He is good shape, he said, “better than last year at this time.”

    His goal in Australia is “to take a top five position and get ProTour points. That is also what the team management expects of me.”

    Despite his ambitions to beat Cavendish, he admited: “I am not the favourite. I am the underdog.”

  • Electronic widgets voted Cyclingnews Best Tech Innovation

    The Metrigear Vector is among the most promising power meter designs thanks to its tiny form factor and potential mountain of available data.
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 9:42 GMT
    James Huang, Tech Editor

    Potential pedal-based power meters offer advantages

    Electronic gear has again dominated the Best Tech Innovation of the 2010 Cyclingnews Reader Poll with pedal-based power meters and GPS-enabled computers earning a commanding lead over the rest of the field. Say what you will about the increased use of advanced electronics on bicycles - the concept is here to stay, a greater percentage of us are taking advantage of their enhanced functionality, and we're bound to see more of it in the coming years.

    Just two main players - Metrigear and Look - currently occupy the pedal-based power meter category and interestingly, neither company has yet to officially release their product to the marketplace. Yet the potential advantages both systems offer relative to current hub and crank-based direct-measurement power meters was apparently enough to draw your attention.

    Both the Metrigear Vector and Look KéO Power house multi-sided strain gage arrays within hollow pedal spindles, which then send their information wirelessly to compatible computer heads. The purported advantages include easier transfer of the units across various bikes for racing and training - or, say, between road and time trial rigs - along with theoretically improved measurement accuracy since the arrays are physically closer to where the power is applied.

    "Our number one motivation was to simplify the ownership experience," said Jake Jacobson of Garmin, who purchased Metrigear this past autumn. "[We want to] enable a cyclist to purchase and install Vector without the need for a mechanic and eliminate complex tradeoffs due to the number of bicycles that a cyclist owns or the various types of riding that a cyclist participates. We believe that if you can address these limitations, it's possible to expand the market beyond the professional and active racer segments."

    That multi-sided sensor array can also potentially provide a deeper understanding not just of how much power is being applied, but also in what...

  • Cardoso looks to repeat stage win Down Under

    Portugal's Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto) crashed heavily in the prologue but managed to finish.
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 9:43 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    RadioShack rider has shaken off 2010 crashes and injuries

    Manuel Cardoso hopes to repeat his success at the Tour Down Under when he makes his debut for Team RadioShack later this month. The Portuguese rider won the fourth stage of the Australian race last year.

    Unfortunately it turned out to be the only victory for him at Footon-Servetto last season. “2010 was a year of bad crashes which prevented me from riding regularly,” he said, according to The worst was a crash on the wet roads in the Tour de France prologue in Rotterdam that left him with a broken jaw and shoulder blade.

    Not surprisingly, after the series of crashes and injuries, “I lost confidence on the bike, but I guess after two or three of riding again I feel as safe as ever.”

    He worked in the gym up until December when he got back on the bike, with “good feelings. This winter I have had not had any problems, didn't have a cold and will arrive Down Under in good shape.”

    His spring race programme also includes Milan-San Remo, Three Days of de Panne, Tour of Flanders, Tour de Romandie and the Giro d'Italia.

  • Riders vote in favour of race radios

    The Tour de France peloton races on the streets of Paris..
    Article published:
    January 07, 2011, 10:40 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank proposes live broadcast of team communications

    The majority of professional riders want to keep using race radio according to the Association of Professional Racers. The international association questioned 344 riders from across Europe on the use of radios in races.

    The team radio and rider earphones were banned by the International Cycling Union at the world championships last year, a decision that angered most riders. To track the feeling in the peloton, the CPA sent a questionnaire out to riders in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Portugal.

    Only 40 riders were in favour of a complete ban, while 207 supported the use “earphones without any restriction.” Three further questions related to earphone use for limited situations, none of which drew significant acceptance.

    “I´m glad when the competitors can express their opinion about questions that belong to their job and safety ,” said Gianni Bugno, president of the CPA. “I hope that these opinions will be considered. I believe that it is more important to leave the decision to the racers rather than to impose a strict ban."

    Team representatives are meeting with the UCI to discuss the race radio issue today in Switzerland with RadioShack's Johan Bruyneel tweeting that he was going to an “interesting meeting.” The ProTeams have all indicated that they want to retain the radios, while the UCI wants to abolish them.

    Rabobank riders are willing to go even further, however, allowing all radio communications between riders and team management to be broadcast live during races.

    "We support transparent communication during races," team spokesman Luuc Eisenga said on the team's website. "The earphones are vital for safety during a race. That is the main reason for not banning them."

    But we would also like to use it to make the races even more attractive to the viewers. Through the direct communication between team...