- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 22:00
- Cycling News
Olympic road cycling and speedskating medallist honored in Calgary
Clara Hughes of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame last night in Calgary, Alberta. She is the sixth cyclist honoured in this fashion, joining Steve Bauer (2005), Curt Harnett (2005), Jocelyn Lovell (1985), Sylvia Burka (1977) and William 'Torchy' Peden (1955).
Hughes, who received the Order of Canada on April 7, 2010, began her stellar cycling career in 1990, and competed in both road and track cycling sports at major international events such as Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games.
"We would like to send our warmest congratulations to Clara. To this day, she continues to inspire kids across Canada to pursue an active lifestyle that includes competitive sports. Throughout her life, she has always been an ideal ambassador for cycling, embodying the noble values and the spirit of sport," said Greg Mathieu, chief executive officer and secretary general of the Canadian Cycling Association.
Dual sport star
In 2002, Hughes became the first Canadian to win Olympic medals in both Summer and Winter Games with her performance in speed skating at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
She participated in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, winning two bronze medals at the 1996 Games in Atlanta in the road race and the individual time trial.
An 18-time Canadian national cycling champion, Hughes won the silver medal in the time trial at the 1995 UCI World Road Championships, held in Duitama, Colombia.
She also participated in the 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2003 Pan American Games and won a total of eight Pan American Games medals. In Commonwealth Games competition, Hughes won the gold medal in the time trial and bronze medal in the points race in 2002, as well as a silver medal in the team time trial in 1994.
She served as a commentator for the cycling events for the CBC's coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Hughes holds honorary doctorates from the University of Manitoba, the University of New Brunswick and the University of British Columbia.
- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 23:21
- Cycling News
Showdown expected amongst world's best sprinters
The prospect of a match up between some of the world's best sprinters in Australia took another step towards happening with Santos Tour Down Under organisers today announcing that André Greipel will return to the event in 2011.
The defending and two-time overall winner will debut for the Omega Pharma-Lotto squad at the race in Adelaide, South Australia on 16-23 January; he'll be the leader of a strong lineup that includes experienced Belgian Mario Aerts and his talented young countrymen Jürgen Roelandts and Olivier Kaisen, Spanish rider Vicente Reynes plus former HTC-Columbia representatives Marcel Sieberg and Adam Hansen.
Australian rider Hansen also makes his debut for the Belgian team on home turf - he and Sieberg were brought into the team to support Greipel, having achieved success with the big German during their tenure at Bob Stapleton's squad.
"It's great to see last year's champion return to defend his title, which has been a tradition of our race each year," said race director Mike Turtur. "Greipel is a formidable sprinter and our race suits him well, so it will be interesting to see if he can be the first rider to win three editions of the Santos Tour Down Under."
In January this year Greipel became only the second rider - after local favourite Stuart O'Grady - to win two editions of Australia's premier stage race and with a strong team behind him the sprinter from Rostock is a good chance of adding another ochre jersey to his collection.
As reported on Cyclingnews on Wednesday, it's been confirmed that he'll be up against fellow sprinter Tyler Farrar; the American will be making his first trip to Australia for the Tour Down Under next year as the Garmin squad debuts in its latest incarnation: Garmin-Cervélo.
- Article published:
- November 11, 2010, 23:25
- James Huang
Refinement on the road
Fulcrum's biggest changes on the road side of its 2011 wheel range fall squarely in the mid-range – right where consumers of more typical incomes are more likely to enjoy their benefits.
Leading that charge is the all-new Racing 3 non-tubeless clincher (the tubeless-compatible 2-Way Fit version carries over unchanged), which drops an impressive 104g from last year's version for a total claimed weight of just 1,555g for the pair. Changes include a new milled-down extrusion, fewer and more slimmed-down straight-pull bladed stainless steel spokes, and new alloy hubs with oversized aluminum axles and interchangeable alloy freehub bodies.
Further down the range, the updated Racing 7 alloy clincher goes on a diet, too, shedding about 80g per pair from last year – and all from the rim where it matters most. A mix of straight-pull and J-bend 14g stainless steel spokes join the hoops to new alloy hubs, which feature a larger-diameter driveside rear flange for improved power transfer. Claimed weight is 1,850g per pair.
Fulcrum has also added 'cross-specific versions of the popular Racing 5 and 7 clinchers. The so-called 'CX' variants are identical to the road versions but for additional seals on the hub bearings to better protect against dirt and water. Though Fulcrum targets these models to the mud crowd, road riders who frequently train in inclement might want to consider them as well as long as they can accept the additional seal drag.
Upper-end models are essentially carryover with the notable exception of the Racing Zero, which gets the company's USB ceramic bearing cartridges as standard equipment for 2011.
As before, the usual Fulcrum trademark features carry through nearly all of the range, including two-to-one rear lacing for more even spoke tension and balanced rims that help offset the weight of the valve stem – using unmilled sections on higher-end aluminum rims, a pair of thicker spokes on lesser models, and even additional carbon plies on the flagship wheels.
More axle fitments, lighter weights, and new big-hit models for trail riders
Last year's Red Carbon cross-country/marathon wheels have now been soundly trumped by the new Red Carbon XRP, which sheds 123g from its predecessor for an impressive claimed weight of just 1,347g for the pair. As before, the highlight of the wheels is their tubeless-compatible carbon fiber rim but virtually nothing else carries over.
The lighter hubs feature carbon center sleeves and titanium freehub bodies but larger-diameter flanges for more efficient power transfer. In a big change, those flanges now anchor quad-butted, stainless steel, straight-pull spokes instead of aluminum ones – and just twenty of them front and rear.
The alloy-rimmed Red Metal Zero ZRP is new as well, this time dropping 130g from last year's Red Metal Zero for a much more competitive claimed weight of 1,470g per pair. Changes include an internally lightened rim (though Fulcrum's Ty Dougherty won't say exactly how) that's still UST tubeless-compatible, new bladed aluminum spokes, and all-new hubs similar to those of the Red Carbon XRP with carbon bodies, large-diameter flanges, and titanium freehub bodies.
Big upgrades come with the introduction of the Red Metal 29" XL, which undercuts last year's 1,850g Red Metal 29 XLR by a full 100g. New externally machined aluminum rims are said to be lighter and stiffer than before thanks to a more refined profile while the spokes are now butted aluminum with round cross-sections instead of last year's bladed steel ones. Spoke count has also dropped from 28H front and rear to a more minimal 21/24H arranged in Fulcrum's characteristic two-to-one pattern.
Finally, there's the new, heavy-duty Red Heat model, intended for downhillers and freeriders. Still weighing a competitive 2,202g for the set, the Red Heat nevertheless uses 25mm-wide alloy rims to support higher-volume rubber, oversized aluminum hub shells with widely spaced flanges and 20x110/12x150mm thru-axle fitments, and 32 straight-pull spokes front and rear.
Key models – both carryover and new – get swappable axle configurations to accommodate the latest batch of frames and forks. Adapters for 15mm thru-axles are available for the Red Metal Zero, 1, and 3 and two versions of Red Zone, while the Red Metal 1 XL, Red Metal 3, and basic and XLR versions of the Red Zone rear wheels will be compatible with the increasingly popular 12x142mm standard.
- Article published:
- November 12, 2010, 00:09
- Cycling News
Former Tour winner says Clenbuterol will tarnish countryman
Former Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado believes Alberto Contador will receive a sanction for his positive doping test taken during his successful Tour campaign this year.
Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol in a sample taken during the Tour's second rest day in Pau, his case the subject of intense speculation since it was publically revealed he failed the test during last month's UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia.
Spanish news agency EFE reports that Delgado, who also won two editions of the Vuelta a España, said that the nature of the substance for which Contador tested positive "is punishable".
Delgado himself tested positive to a banned substance during his successful Tour campaign. Samples taken in Villard-de-Lans on July 15 that year tested positive for probenecid, a masking agent that delays other illegal substances from reaching the urine, keeping the urine 'cleaner' for longer.
Delgado avoided sanction because probenecid wasn't on the UCI's list of banned substances - despite being on those of the International Olympic Committee and the French Cycling Federation - and hence he rode into Paris as the victor of the 1988 Tour de France.
In August that year Sports Illustrated described Delgado's yellow jersey "the most soiled yellow jersey in the history of the Tour de France".
The man known as 'Perico' can therefore speak with authority about the nuances of banned substances and the damage it can do a rider's reputation in addition to the possible sanctions that result from their use.
"Contador has suffered irreparable damage already no matter what," Delgado told Spanish sports daily Marca. "It will punish you. He [Contador] is optimistic but the presence of clenbuterol is 'punishable'," he added.
"I would not penalise him, but seeing the how the matter has developed I think that ultimately they will punish him," Delgado continued. "A lesser evil would be a penalty of six months, which would be enough, although it would remove him from the Tour this year."
Delgado added that this latest doping case is another "blow for cycling" after "it seemed that it was regenerating after a few good years".
Contador has maintained his innocence in the matter, stating that it was the consumption of contaminated meat, brought to France from Spain, that caused the presence of clenbuterol in his system. This week the UCI requested that the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) open disciplinary proceedings against the rider.
Contador remains optimistic of successfully defending his case using the explanation above, and in recent days RFEC boss Juan Carlos Castaño has expressed its hope that the matter is resolved swiftly and "for the best".
- Article published:
- November 12, 2010, 06:14
- Cycling News
Experienced German a valuable asset to American team
High Road Sports has announced that former professional rider Jens Zemke will join its team of sports directors for 2011.
He has directed teams for the past nine years, which includes a seven-year stint at Equipe Nürnberger and the last two seasons with the Cervélo TestTeam.
Consequently, Zemke will work with both the men's and women's teams for next year.
"After seven years with the Equipe Nürnberger women and two years with Cervelo TestTeam, this is another step forward for me. In my eyes, this team is the best professional team in the world," said Zemke.
"Bob Stapleton and his crew have always been successful in finding young talent and developing riders; I'm proud to be part of this operation."
Zemke joins sports directors Brian Holm, Allan Peiper, Valerio Piva, Jan Shaffrath, and Ronny Lauke plus team manager Rolf Aldag, who said of his new charge: "Zemke is the perfect answer to this new position in our team.
"He is someone who has longtime success and experience in women's cycling as a sports director, plus a backround in professional men's cycling as a pro rider and sports director, so both our men and women will benefit from his knowledge and experience."
- Article published:
- November 12, 2010, 09:37
- Daniel Friebe
Vacansoleil climber says that he's a changed man
Riccardo Riccò claims that he is ready to shed his bad-boy image – as well the nickname, “il Cobra”, which came to symbolize the former drug-cheat’s venomous nature on the bike and off it.
“I’m no longer aggressive like I used to be,” Riccò told Cyclingnews on Thursday. “Once upon a time it would have bothered me if the Italian papers talked more about [Ivan] Basso, [Vincenzo] Nibali and [Michele] Scarponi than me, but not any more. The phoney wars don’t interest me any more. I’ve calmed down a lot. I’m tranquillo now.”
He then announced with a chuckle: “The Cobra is dead! You don’t believe me? It’s true…”
The Italian was returning home to Emilia-Romagna after two days of testing with new coach Aldo Sassi at the Centro Mapei near Milan.
Sassi, who recently recruited Damiano Cunego to a stable of riders already including Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans, told La Gazzetta dello Sport in October that working with Riccò would make a perfect “final gamble” as he battles with a brain tumour. Riccò read the article and called Sassi to accept his invitation.
Riccò told Cyclingnews yesterday that the pair’s first meeting had been about much more than just crunching numbers.
“He wanted to get to know me a lot better and meet my family,” Riccò said. “We spent a lot of time talking my life and my cycling career up until now. We also did an endurance test and a VO2 Max test, but they weren’t the important things. Aldo was more interested in what I had to say.”
Many view Riccò’s decision to link up with Sassi as a deliberate and perhaps cynical attempt to regain credibility after his positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. Sassi has said previously that he can vouch for any of his riders being clean, partly thanks to his own regimen of longitudinal blood tests.
Riccò, though, says that the partnership has nothing to do with good PR.
“I’m doing it for myself, not for other people,” he said. “It’s not intended to send a message. I have big objectives and Aldo can help me to achieve them – it’s that simple. When we had our chat, we spent next to no time talking about doping. There was no need - I was very clear on that score from the start.”
Riccò did nonetheless confirm that Sassi had taken blood samples to establish benchmarks for his total haemoglobin mass. It is believed that, while blood transfusions can’t be detected via traditional tests measuring only haemoglobin concentration, they can be revealed by variations in an athlete’s total haemoglobin.
Riccò conceded that, with Sassi’s life expectancy not stretching beyond the middle of next year, he feels duty-bound to do the coach proud.
“I definitely feel very a big responsibility towards Aldo, with what he’s going through. I really need to honour him on the bike,” he said.
Having controversially switched teams from Ceramica Flaminia to Vacansoleil midway through last season, the 27-year-old will remain with the Dutch squad in 2011. Despite voluntarily relinquishing new signing Ezequiel Mosquera’s ranking points – the Spaniard having tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España in September and awaiting sanctions – Vacansoleil are currently placed 12th in the UCI’s team classification. They are therefore poised to obtain a ProTeam licence allowing them entry to the World Tour, which includes all three major tours.
“Based on the rankings at the moment, there shouldn’t be a problem with getting into the Giro and the Tour,” Riccò said on Thursday. “The Giro route looks really good – extremely hard and for riders with stamina who can really climb. I’m not saying that I’m going to win or finish on the podium; I just want to do my best and entertain people. After the Giro, Aldo would like me to go to the Tour to aim for stages, but we’ll discuss my race programme more in a fortnight, and after our team’s training camp in Benidorm from December 10 to 20.”
Riccò has apparently settled well at Vacansoleil, where his team-mates next year will include double Tour of Flanders champion Stijn Devolder.
“Yeah, I’ve integrated really well,” he confirmed. “It’s very different to the teams I’ve ridden for in the past. There’s a lot less stress and pressure. I’m sure that the team will also be strong next year, although it’s too early to say which guys are going to be my key men in the mountains…”
Riccò commented finally on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s recent suggestion that the UCI should consider night-time dope tests – a recommendation which has mystified and angered many of his countrymen.
While demonstrating his new-found diplomacy, the erstwhile “Cobra” shares his colleagues’ concerns.
“Personally, I don’t agree with it,” he said. “I mean, where does it end? Unless they test us 24 hours a day… But it’s also not up to me to decide. If the authorities go ahead with it, we’ll have to accept it.”
- Article published:
- November 12, 2010, 09:52
- Cycling News
Young Dane eager to continue work with Kim Andersen
Jakob Fuglsang has said that he had opted to join the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project even before the Tour de France, and that Team Saxo Bank owner Bjarne Riis was aware of his decision. Fuglsang explained that he was eager to continue working with sports director Kim Andersen and wanted the security of a new contract, while Riis had not yet announced a sponsor for the coming year.
"Bjarne Riis knew about my decision even before the Tour,” Fuglsang told spn.dk. “He had sensed that something was afoot. He offered me an extension a week before the Tour, but in contrast to Team Luxembourg, he could not promise anything specific in writing or wage, as there was still uncertainty about a future sponsorship."
Riis has said that he felt hard done by to learn that so many riders were leaving him, and that they rode the Tour knowing this. Fuglsang denied that there was any problem in that respect.
"No, Team Saxo Bank's future was uncertain, and it was no problem for my performance during the Tour knowing that I would ride for another team. Quite the contrary. It was just nice to have control of my future, unlike some of the other riders who rode in uncertainty about where they should continue. "
Saxo Bank had announced it would end its sponsorship at the end of the season, and did not renew its sponsorship until the signing of Alberto Contador was announced the beginning of August.
Kim Andersen played a major role in the 25-year-old's decision to join the newly formed team. “He is my good friend, and he has always taken good care of me. He has meant a lot to my development, is always positive and says straight out if there is something he is not happy with. In the cycling environment, he is, if not the best, then at least one of the best sports directors.”
He added, “Kim Anderson doesn't just aim for results here and now. He's thinking more long term and his primary goal is that we continue to develop."
Had Fuglsang stayed with Saxo Bank, he thought that Riis might offer him the role of leader, “but that possibility disappeared anyway, since he signed Alberto Contador. The Luxembourg team will of course primarily depend on the Schleck brothers, but I'm fine with that. I'm not on their level and I can learn a lot from them," said Fuglsang.
He will still have his own opportunities as well, if not at the Tour de France, then elsewhere. “There are other big stage races where I can get permission to ride for myself.”
- Article published:
- November 12, 2010, 10:17
- Hedwig Kröner
FDJ manager criticises UCI ranking over ethics
Marc Madiot, manager of the French FDJ squad, has been critical of the new points system developed by the UCI to evaluate the sporting value of teams. According to the classification, which determines whether a team is eligible to receive a ProTeam (formerly ProTour) licence, FDJ is in 21st position and will thus be relegated to the second division of the cycling hierarchy, Professional Continental level.
While Madiot did not want to create any polemics and stated that the new system had its worth, he also insisted that some of its details should be reviewed.
"It's moving in the right direction, but it's annoying that some people have had ethics-related issues and have still qualified [for a ProTeam licence]. OK, everybody deserves a second chance, but if it was decided that a rider who received a suspension cannot bring his points to a team prepared to sign him, it would act like a safeguard," Madiot told L'Equipe on Friday.
At present, the sporting value classification takes into account those points gained by riders that have come back to the sport from doping-related suspensions. However, Dutch squad Vacansoleil asked that its 2011 signing of Ezekiel Mosquera (currently under investigation after returning an adverse analytical finding for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España) not be taken into consideration.
"This situation shows that there are real problems. When [UCI president] Pat McQuaid starts saying that he would be in favour of four-year suspensions instead of two years, it means that he probably understood himself that the sytsem has it limits."
Recently, McQuaid has spoken in favour of doubling the standard suspension period of two-years for serious doping offences to four years in the hope of creating a stronger deterrent.
But Madiot also bemoaned the late announcement of the new criterion, and his sponsor's disappointment at the team's relegation. "When we started putting together our 2011 roster, I did not know the new criteria - we received them on the eve of the Tour de France presentation (October 18)," he continued.
"Monsieur Blanchard-Dignac [Française des Jeux president] did not like it, but this goes for any major company boss who first asks his administrative council for more means and time - and then he is being told that he's partially sidelined..."
In June it was announced that FDJ's budget would be increased by four million euro, while the lottery's sponsorship of the team was renewed for a further four years.
Disadvantaged by French law
Moreover, Madiot explained that because of French labour law, teams from France could not afford high-profile riders to the same extent as squads based in other European countries. Reacting to the fact that next year's First Division may not include any French team - final decisions on Cofidis and AG2R will be announced on November 20 - the FDJ Manager argued, "We don't have the means to compete against the Anglo-Saxons, where the riders are considered freelance workers. Our social and fiscal laws prohibit this. What costs me 100 in France, only costs 60 or 70 abroad.
"When I created the team in 1997, I was able to afford two or three good riders that were within the international top 30. Today, no French team has access to a top-level rider. Keeping things in proportion, we are in the same situation as soccer. Messi coming to Lyon or PSG is unthinkable, just like the idea of Schleck in a French team."
Nonetheless, Madiot believes that the survival French cycling is not under threat, even if no French team made it into the First Division. "The situation is delicate, but we have some great assets, starting with our roots," he said. "If Germany, for instance, has hit rock bottom today, it's because it was not a big cycling country before Ullrich. The result is that there are no teams anymore, no Tour of Germany. In France, we have solid structures and faithful partners. Even if it is difficult to find money, our organisers are still there because we are deeply rooted. We may often have to face a headwind, but we are still standing."