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First Edition Cycling News, Friday June 26, 2009

Date published:
June 26, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • RAAM going down to the wire

    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 11:27 BST
    Peter Hymas

    Solo men leaders separated by minutes, 8-person team on record pace

    Slovenia's Jure Robic led Switzerland's Dani Wyss by seven minutes on Wednesday afternoon after almost seven days and 2,450 miles of racing in the Race Across America (RAAM). Over the past three days Wyss, the 2006 RAAM winner, has steadfastly pursued Robic, the defending and 4-time RAAM champion, reducing a deficit of several hours to only minutes in Ohio.

    Robic, however, has accrued one hour in time penalties while Wyss is penalty-free. At RAAM's 51st time station in Mt. Airy, Maryland, with only 54.7 miles remaining in the 3021.9 mile race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland, Robic will have to serve his one-hour penalty which may propel Wyss into the lead.

    Robic was on pace to beat Pete Penseyres's 15.4mph average speed record, set in 1986, but he has slowed below record pace in the extreme heat.

    Team Type 1, however, competing in the 8-person relay event, is on pace to break the RAAM transcontinental crossing record of five days, nine hours and 43 minutes set in 2008 by the Norwegian Byggkjøp presented by BMC Cycling Team. Through 2,575 miles of the race, Team Type 1 was averaging 23.76 mph. The second-place team in the race, Team ViaSat, was averaging 22.64 mph and riding nearly five-and-a-half hours behind Team Type 1 as of 8 a.m. EDT on Thursday.

    Team Type 1's eight-person RAAM team consists of Jeff Bannink, Simon Bennett, Alex Bowden, Matt Brooks, Tom Kingery, Lonny Knabe, Bob Schrank and Mark Suprenant, all of whom have Type 1 diabetes.

  • Liquigas announce Tour team

    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 15:07 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger to share captaincy

    Liquigas revealed to Cyclingnews today its full nine-man roster the Tour de France, July 4 to 26.

    As expected Vincenzo Nibali and Roman Kreuziger will co-captain the Italian squad. "The objective is to try to win a stage at least. Our goal will be to put Nibali and Kreuziger in the the top ten overall. This is within their grasp," said Amadio.

    Daniele Bennati will be Liquigas’ man on the flatter stages of this year’s Tour route.

    A notable absence from the nine man list is Sylvester Szmyd. The Polish rider recently won the stage to Mont Ventoux at this year’s Dauphiné Libéré. Amadio indicated that Szmyd would instead focus upon objectives later in the season.

    "He is not doing the Tour because he did the Giro and then will ride the Vuelta a España with Basso. We have a big programme for the team and we have to divide up the team for our ambitions. We are going to the Vuelta on an important mission for Basso in the classification."

    Liquigas’ nine-man team for the Tour de France will be: Daniele Bennati, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Roman Kreuziger, Fabio Sabatini, Aliaksandr Kuschynski, Alessandro Vanotti, Fredrik Willems and Brian Bach Vandborg. (GB)

  • Hushovd extends through 2011

    Thor Hushovd will ride for Cervélo TestTeam until at least 2011
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 16:40 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    “Good feeling” with Team Cervelo

    Thor Hushovd has extended his contract with Cervelo TestTeam through 2011, the team announced on Thursday. The Norwegian sprinter, who has four victories so far this year, will ride the upcoming Tour de France in pursuit of his green jersey.

    “I have a really good feeling with this team,” the 31 year-old said. “The philosophy, the ambitions and the morale of the team is how I like it and want it to be. I always get great support from my teammates, so the decision to extend the contract was an easy one.”

    Thomas Campana, the team's managing director, was also pleased. “He is a great rider, an experienced athlete as well as a very likeable person.”

    Hushovd turned pro in 2000 and rode for Credit Agricole until this season. He won the Tour's green jersey in 2005, and has won two stages at the 2006 Tour, the opening prologue and the final stage.

    In 2009 the Norwegian won a stage at the Tour of California, and two stages in the Volta a Catalunya, plus the one-day race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He most recently rode the Tour de Suisse, where he finished ninth in the points classification.

  • Millar and Wiggins staying put

    Bradley Wiggins gives his all for the Garmin cause.
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 17:00 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Shane Sutton's comments "misunderstood"

    Both British Cycling and Garmin-Slipstream manager Jonathan Vaughters have refuted a story, released on Wednesday, that had linked Garmin teammates David Millar and Bradley Wiggins to a possible move to new professional road outfit Team Sky.

    Reporting on an interview with British Cycling coach Shane Sutton, the BBC had suggested that Millar and Wiggins, along with current Barloworld professionals Geraint Thomas and Steve Cummings, would be part of the Team Sky line-up when the team is launched next season.

    British Cycling told Cyclingnews that comments made by Sutton during the interview had been misunderstood. The BBC had quoted Sutton as saying, "All these guys are going to move on to the Sky pro road team, maybe I shouldn't have said that."

    “There has been a misunderstanding,” said Iga Kowalska-Owen, a spokesperson for British Cycling. “[Team Sky] are not making any announcements [regarding riders] until later this year. We’re in the process of talking to a few people and there are ongoing discussions with different riders but nothing has been confirmed at this point. We will be announcing names in due course.”

    Garmin-Slipstream manager, Jonathan Vaughters, dismissed the report linking Millar and Wiggins to Team Sky as “just silly” and told Cyclingnews that he had spoken with Wiggins on Thursday and the Olympic champion was surprised by the story.

    Vaughters said he thought both riders are happy with their position on the Garmin-Slipstream squad, and had no knowledge of any planned move to the Sky team.

    Millar owns a stake in the in Garmin-Slipstream squad and Wiggins’ contract with his current team is not due to expire until the end of 2010.


  • Astana names Tour team: Contador & Armstrong to lead

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 17:15 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    "The New French Revolution"

    Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong will lead Team Astana at the Tour de France, starting July 4 in Monaco. The team announced its Tour line-up Thursday with a video release on its website, introducing “The New French Revolution”, as “9 Riders join forces to take over France.”

    Contador, who won the Tour in 2007, and Armstrong, who won in 1999-2005, will be primarily supported by Andreas Klöden, who finished second in the Tour in 2004 and 2006, and Levi Leipheimer, who was third in the Tour in 2007.

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel said that Contador “has worked very hard, earning the right to represent our team as the leader this July.” He added that Armstrong “is extremely motivated for the Tour de France.”

    The squad also includes Yaroslav Popovych, Haimar Zubeldia, Sergio Paulinho, and Gregory Rast. Kazakh rider Dimitriy Muravyey completes the line up and will be making his Tour debut.

  • Mountain bike star upsets roadies in French TT champs

    Peraud rode to silver in the Beijing Olympic Games
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 18:27 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Chavanel loses the title by 24 seconds

    Super favourite Sylvain Chavanel remains the best French professional cyclist for time trial but he has lost his title to mountain biker Jean-Christophe Péraud who rode 24 seconds faster than him on the difficult and technical course of Saint-Brieuc.

    Péraud, 32, was the silver medallist at Beijing Olympics for mountain biking. "Only a gold medal at the Olympics could have been better than this French title," said Péraud who is also the defending champion for amateur road race at the French championship. He'll ride for another blue, white and red jersey on Saturday.

    Chavanel hopes that "losing the time trial is a good sign (for Sunday's road race) because nobody has made the double in the history."

    At the intermediate times, Chavanel was never in a situation to lead the race. "I didn't know about that until 10km to go when I asked my directeur sportif (Rik Verbrugghe) who told me that I was 25 seconds behind the best time," said the Quick Step rider. "I didn't have my usual pedalling style. I'm not proud of finishing second."

    On the other hand, local boy David Le Lay was delighted to go on the podium of a French championship for the first time. "I'm only one second ahead of the fourth rider (AG2R's Christophe Riblon) and I would have been extremely disappointed to miss the top three at home," commented the Saint-Brieuc-based rider from Agritubel.

    Chavanel and Le Lay also have the Tour de France in mind while Péraud will return to mountain biking. "It remains my priority", he insisted. "I don't see myself representing France at the world championship for time trial. I like cycling but I love mountain biking. I'm not prepared to quit MTB but I aim at confronting myself to the best road rider. I would like to join a professional road team and combine road and MTB. I'm not sure about London Olympics though. I'll be 35 in 2012. Cycling is an endurance sport suitable for old athletes but I'll wait for...

  • Longo's 56th title comes amidst discord

    Jeanine Longo (Les Carroz Team)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 19:37 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Her bike nearly disqualified, Longo rallies to the time trial title

    Jeannie Longo claimed her 56th French national title in the time trial championship in St. Brieuc on Thursday. Her victory came 30 years after she took her first blue, white and red jersey on the road back in 1979.

    However, the day was less than fairytale as family troubles were made public and mechanical discord occurred once again with race commissaires.

    She started five seconds later than scheduled because of a discussion with the judges over the conformity of her time trial bike. The bike was initially refused. She argued that she recently rode the Souvenir Magali-Pache with the same bike and she was eventually given the green light in extremis at the difference of her rival Edwige Pitel who had to race with her replacement bike that was four years old.

    Asked whether or not this incident had favoured her, Longo replied to the reporters: "You would have preferred to see her winning, right? Well, I'm happy to have won once again. The incident prior to the race gave me a lot of adrenaline at the beginning of the race. I've suffered a lot but the huge crowd has encouraged me remarkably."

    Despite her popularity and her winning status still at the age of 50, Longo cried a few times after the race. It was because of the revelation by L'Equipe that she was no longer coached by her husband Patrice Ciprelli who on the other hand gives Pitel training plans. It was Longo who attracted Pitel to her town of Grenoble. She even found a job for her.

    Longo was quoted as not having "a great morale being alone and staying up until 2am sometimes". During the race, Ciprelli followed his wife in the car just as he has in the past and did not follow Pitel. Longo presumed he will follow her to their usual training camp in the USA in July as a preparation for the world championship in Mendrisio.

  • Kashechkin confident after CAS hearing

    Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) ponders the situation at hand
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 19:50 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Kazakh hopes to start racing August 1

    Andrei Kashechkin and his lawyer were heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Wednesday in hopes of having him reinstated to the world of professional cycling.

    "We have presented our arguments and I hope for a positive outcome," the Kazakh Kashechkin rider told Cyclingnews. He expects to be allowed to race again on August 1, which is two years after he supposedly failed an anti-doping control taken during his holiday in Turkey after the 2007 Tour de France.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) claimed he tested positive for an illegal for blood transfusion.  The Kazakh federation never suspended him because it said B-sample documents were missing.

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision will be announced within two weeks.

    While in Lausanne Kashechkin was tested for the first time in two years by Cycling Union controllers. "I had entered in the ADAMS [Anti-Doping Administrative Management System - ed.] system that I was in Lausanne and the UCI knew which day I had my hearing," said Kashechkin.

    Kashechkin plans to look for a team if the Court of Arbitration gives him the green light.

  • Garmin-Slipstream covering all bases for the Tour

    Jonathan Vaughters announces the Slipstream roster
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 21:57 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Jonathan Vaughters discusses a manager's most difficult decision

    With its GC hopeful, Christian Vande Velde, in uncertain form following serious injuries sustained in a crash in the Giro d'Italia, the Garmin-Slipstream team is sending a team of diverse talents to capitalize on any opportunity in this year's Tour de France.

    Speaking with Cyclingnews on Thursday, manager Jonathan Vaughters gave some insight into how he and directeur sportif Matt White formulated this year's team.

    "The final call was Matt's, but in this case we agreed on the line-up," said Vaughters. "We wanted to pick nine riders who would work well as a team, but we tried to diversify it more than if we were going in with a strict focus on supporting Christian for the GC."

    The team will be able to support Vande Velde should he show the form that propelled him to a top five finish in last year's Tour, but will also focus on the bunch sprints with Delta Tour Zeeland winner Tyler Farrar and Kiwi Julian Dean.

    "Time trials will also be a focus, but [Fabian] Cancellara is going pretty fast right now."

    The team still has a good chance for the team time trial in Montpellier on stage four with US champion David Zabriskie, David Millar and Bradley Wiggins as engines, yet several of the squad's strong time trialists were left out of the line-up.

    Canadian Svein Tuft is one rider who many would have been expecting to see on the roster as the world championship silver medalist would have brought more kick to the team time trial, but Vaughters said Tuft hasn't shown in recent weeks that he was ready for the Tour.

    "Svein is going to have a great season, but he had some rough luck this year. We took him out of the Giro team because he was coming back from an injury, and then he had some rough luck in Catalunya and crashing in the long time trial at the Dauphine.

    "He has tried so hard this year because it is his big chance, but he may have overtrained a bit. He's learned from it, and will be great for the Vuelta...