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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, March 5, 2010

Date published:
March 05, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Successful surgery for Nocentini

    Italy's Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 0:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    2009 Tour yellow jersey holder recovering from broken leg

    AG2R La Mondiale's Rinaldo Nocentini is recovering from a successful surgery to repair a broken leg which he sustained in a crash at last weeks GP Insubria. The Italian, who held the maillot jaune for eight days in last year's Tour de France, broke the lower part of his tibia and fibula in the fall last weekend.

    "To be honest, other then tibia and fibula, I also broke my malleolus, a bone in my foot and my heel: So, I really massacred myself," the rider from Tuscany told

    After three and half hours of surgery, Nocentini was upbeat and off pain medication. "I'm feeling good. So, I'm hopeful. Tomorrow morning I have another check up and if everything is ok, I will be home in the afternoon."

    He now faces a lengthy recovery which will put him out of competition for months.

    "I am told a month and a half," he said of his rehabilitation. "Maybe two [months] to get back on the bike. In 20 days I can do a little exercise on the rollers."

  • Contador to lead Astana at Paris-Nice

    Astana's Alberto Contador, left, will lead a team at Paris-Nice, while Alexandre Vinokourov captains a squad for Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 1:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vino to skip Montepaschi, captain squad at Tirreno

    Alberto Contador returns to Paris-Nice on Sunday, March 7, as captain of the Astana team and is a favourite for overall victory, a feat the Spaniard accomplished in 2007 but failed to repeat in last year's edition. Last year Contador won the opening time trial and seemingly had the race under control following his victory in stage six's summit finish, which put the Tour champion back into yellow, 1:13 minutes ahead of compatriot Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne).

    The following day's penultimate stage, however, saw Contador crack and Sanchez assume the race leadership which he would defend through the final stage. Contador would finish fourth overall, 1:24 behind Sanchez.

    Contador's revamped Astana team returns in 2010 with only two of his teammates from the previous year's squad, Spaniards Daniel Navarro and Benjamin Noval. In addition to Contador's two trusted Spanish domestiques, Astana will support Contador in 2010 with Kazakhs Dimitriy Fofonov and Maxim Gourov, Ukraine's Andriy Grivko, Spain's Oscar Pereiro and Slovenia's Gorazd Stangelj.

    Contador enters Paris-Nice with good form, having won his season debut at Portugal's five-day Volta ao Algarve. The 27-year-old Spaniard earned the leader's jersey after winning the third stage and finished second in the final day's time trial to seal his overall victory.

    While Contador seeks another Paris-Nice victory in France, Alexandre Vinokourov will lead an Astana team in Italy for Tirreno-Adriatico on March 10-17. Vinokourov...

  • Arvesen will return from injury at Tirreno

    Kurt Alse Arvesen comes out in the Norwegian Champion's kit
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 3:46 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Sky rider recovering well from Qatar crash

    Team Sky’s Kurt Asle Arvesen looks set to resume his season at next week’s Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy, as he recovers from a crash at last month’s Tour of Qatar. The Norwegian’s season was brought to a very premature holt when a crash during the neutral zone on the second stage left him with a broken collarbone

    Arvesen was one of a number of riders to leave the Middle East with such an injury, with Garmin-Transitions' Steven Cozza and Milram's Gerald Ciolek both suffering the same fate. The 35-year-old rider hopes the injury will hold up well enough during next week’s stage race for his British ProTour team to include him in its Spring Classics campaign.

    “I have spoken to the team management and doctors at Team Sky and we have agreed that I will start in Tirreno-Adriatico next week,” he told “We will see how it works out, but the idea is that I will join in the classics program, which includes Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”

    Arvesen had one of his strongest Spring Classics seasons in 2008, when he finished Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) in seventh place on top of his 10th place finish at Milan-Sanremo. He is a four time Norwegian road race champion and has won the time trial title on two occasions.

  • Schumacher will not appeal CAS decision

    Stefan Schumacher (R) and lawyer Michael Lehner after the first CAS hearing for his positive in the Olympics in July, 2009.
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 10:03 GMT
    Cycling News

    Working on his comeback for next year

    Stefan Schumacher will not appeal his doping suspension to the Swiss federal court. The German's suspension runs through August 28 of this year.

    “We have decided not to. Stefan is now looking to the future,” his attorney, Michael Lehner, told the dpa news agency. “He is training hard and wants to find a team for 2011.”

    Schumacher tested positive for EPO CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. The French anti-doping agency AFLD suspended him for two years, until January 21, 2011. The International Cycling Union adopted the suspension.

    In January, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld the ban but shortened it until the end of August.

    Schumacher, 28, also tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and has been banned from future Olympic games. He is also appealing that ban to the CAS. The results of that case will have no effect on the end of his UCI/AFLD suspension, Lehner said.

    Schumacher has consistently denied having doped.

  • Eva Lutz reflects on colourful career

    Eva Lutz (Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung) enjoyed better weather
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 10:43 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Former-Equipe Nürnberger rider expresses concerns for future of women's cycling

    Women's cycling has lost one of its more colourful personalities. Eva Lutz, long known for her distinctive red dreadlocks, has put an end to her career. The German rider made the decision to retire when her squad, formerly known as Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung, lost its sponsorship for the 2010 season.

    “Now I just have to look for other challenges,” she told the Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung. The 30 year-old is working on her diploma as a mechanical engineer and will look to work in that field.

    Lutz was at home in early December when she received the phone call telling her yacht charter company Skyter GmbH had backed out of the deal to take over the team. “Of course I had hoped for another new sponsor, but unfortunately cycling has only a very modest reputation right now.”

    A witness to a reduction in the number of women's teams in the peloton over recent years, Lutz also expressed her concerns for the future for the women's professional cycling. “Womens' cycling can't be saved in the next few years. There is too little attention paid to it to notice that it is going under,” she said.

    Trading oars for gears

    Lutz began her athletic career as a rower, winning gold n the 1997 U-23 German Championships. She left the water for the bike in 2004, joining Equipe Nürnberger in 2006.

    “Your body gets used to the strain,” she said, reflecting on her first 10-day stage race, the 2006 Women's Giro d'Italia. “But it was fun to observe, how the body and head learn to cope with it.”

    Her victories were mainly in the German Bundesliga, where she won the overall title twice. She was valued as a domestique on the team, but last year enjoyed major success when she won a stage in the Ladies' Tour of Qatar.

    Looking back, she is satisfied overall with her career, but added, “I would have liked to...

  • Bellis to be released from hospital

    Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 11:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Continuing rehabilitation from September motor scooter accident

    Johnny Bellis is expected to be released from hospital this weekend and return to the Isle of Man for the first time since his scooter accident last September.

    Bellis' crash occurred in the early hours of September 19, near Quarrata, Italy. He suffered massive head injuries and was placed in an induced coma for four weeks. A feeding tube became dislodged and he developed peritonitis, requiring emergency surgery.

    The 21-year-old was transported back to London at the beginning of November, and a month later was transferred to The Wellington Hospital, in London for rehabilitation.

    “Johnny has been so driven and worked so hard that his accomplishments are well known at The Wellington and he has been an inspiration to the staff and other patients there,” Team Saxo Bank said in a press release.

    Team owner Bjarne Riis and managing director Trey Greenwood recently visited Bellis. “We all went for a walk and stopped by a café to have a coffee. But you know, once we sat down, we ended up speaking about nutrition, weight gain and training all afternoon anyway,” said Riis.

    “There was just no way around it. Johnny wants to come back and we are motivated to help him. But he has no pressure from our side, only backing and support. Bradley McGee is working with him to get his training started and the team will be there for him with anything he needs.”

    Bellis will now stay on the Isle of Man the next few months, “continuing his recovery and training to build his body back up to strength.” It is not yet known whether he will be able to return to either the pro team or the UK national track team.


  • Contador ready for a fight at Paris-Nice

    Astana's Alberto Contador, left, will lead a team at Paris-Nice, while Alexandre Vinokourov captains a squad for Tirreno-Adriatico.
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 11:49 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Astana captain ready after repeat win at Algarve

    Alberto Contador has predicted a tight contest for the overall title at this year's Paris-Nice, but says he will fight to claim the title that slipped from his grasp last year.

    Contador won the event in 2007, but fell out of contention at the 2009 Paris-Nice after he suffered a dramatic and well-publicized hunger knock on the race's penultimate stage to Fayence. The Spaniard named the man who assumed his race lead on that day, compatriot Luis Leon Sanchez, and the latter's Caisse d'Epargne teammate, Alejandro Valverde, as the major favourites in what he described as a "broad" Paris-Nice field.

    "Of course I'm going with the team and we will try to fight for victory; aim to be in the fight, although it is very difficult to win," said Contador. "There are very strong riders who will have a better shot than me, like Luis Leon or Valverde, who have raced more this year. [Our] aim, in any case, is be there.

    "But in an event like Paris-Nice the list of favourites in very broad. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank), Sandy Casar (Francaise de Jeux) and [Sylvain] Chavanel (Quick Step) are also threats."

    Contador will enter the French race on Sunday, as he did last year, with a victory at the recent Volta ao Algarve.  The 27-year-old picked up a minor illness at a wet edition of the Portuguese race, but said he had trained well in the interim and felt encouraged ahead of his first race in France since taking his second Tour de France title last July.

    "I rested a little longer than expected [after Algarve] because it was a hard return and because of the cold I suffered," he said. "I've also done some more training with the idea of building on the work done during the winter, but I'm not sure if I'm better or worse than in Portugal, because I was already in very good condition there."

    Referring to...

  • Bbox's Bernaudeau prepares for key sponsorship meetings

    The 2010 Bbox Bouygues Telecom team
    Article published:
    March 05, 2010, 12:05 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom principal working hard to secure team's future

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom boss Jean-René Bernaudeau has an important couple of weeks ahead of him. As his team prepare to start Paris-Nice on Sunday, Bernaudeau will be looking beyond what is Bbox’s first key objective of the season to a series of meetings he has lined up with companies interested in taking over sponsorship of his squad when its current backers withdraw at the end of the current season.

    "I’ve got three very important meetings set up in March with national and international companies," Bernaudeau told the Ouest France newspaper. "If all this comes to an end I would be in better health because I would sleep better. But it would be the failure of my life. There are 100 people who depend on this project – families, children.

    "My meetings are very important because we have to combine a coherent strategy for the team with the strategy of a company. [Phone and electronics manufacturer] LG almost joined us, but they chose to go into Formula 1 until 2013. That deal was with the French arm of the company, not the international arm, which didn’t see cycling as the best way to boost worldwide recognition."

    Bernaudeau knows all too well that success for his team at Paris-Nice would boost his own chances of locating a new sponsor no end. He is hoping that his riders will build on the strong start they have made to the season and be able to improve on last year’s performance at 'the race to the sun' when Thomas Voeckler finished second on a stage and Yuri Trofimov was ninth overall.

    "The objective is to arrive in Nice with two riders capable of finishing in the top-ten," said Bernaudeau, who believes a tricky route will favour his riders, especially if France's currently unsettled weather...