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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, November 13, 2009

Date published:
November 13, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Wanted: 2009 Cyclingnews Photo of the Year nominations

    Denis Menchov during the final Giro d'Italia time trial stage.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 21:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Let your voice be heard

    The leaves have barely finished falling in Lombardia and the dust is still settling Down Under after the Crocodile Trophy, but it's already almost time for the annual Cyclingnews Reader Poll.

    New for this year, Cyclingnews is looking for your input in choosing nominations for the "Best Photo" category. Have a look through the archives and pull out your favorite photo of the year. Then submit it as a nomination through our Cyclingnews Forum. Instructions on how to do so are posted in the forum.

    Only photos that have been published on Cyclingnews will be considered.

    You can visit the archives to check out photos for specific races since the website redesign early this summer by going to the calendar page. You can also find coverage of pre-website redesign races by going to full archive, selecting a discipline and clicking on the 2009 calendar for each.

    Post your favourite road, track, mountain bike or cyclo-cross photo by midnight GMT, November 15, 2009.

    We'll announce the nominations next week and send one lucky nominator a signed copy of Sir Chris Hoy's autobiography.

    Thanks and good luck!

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -

  • Philly close to three-year deal with TD Bank

    Riders pass under the Philly skyline.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 8:08 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Organiser promises rider prizes will be paid

    TD Bank is close to renewing a three-year term as title sponsor of the Philadelphia International Championships. Dave Chauner, president of the event's organizing committee Pro Cycling Tour (PCT) welcomes the thought of a lengthy sponsorship extension following the economic downturn that nearly resulted in the collapse of the nations iconic 250-kilometre one-day classic.

    "They worked with us and many of the same people with Commerce Bank realized what a valuable branding opportunity it was," Chauner said. "It doesn't make sense to do it for one year and keep changing. We insisted on a three contract with our sponsors. We are still crawling out of the economic downturn but we are seeing a lot of interest in other sponsorships. I'm very optimistic about next year."

    The TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships will continue in 2010 in its 26th season. Formerly the USPRO Championships, it has undergone three name changes in the last decade. It began as the CoreStates and was passed to First Union in 1998, and then Wachovia in 2002 and finally Commerce Bank in 2006. Last year, the Canadian bank Toronto Dominion (TD) bought the Commerce Bank and inherited the final year of a four-year term to sponsor the bike race.

    No contract has been signed to date however, Chauner is optimistic that TD Bank will sign the dotted line soon. "The ink isn't on the paper yet but all deals are negotiated and the contract is in their hand. We have no reason to believe they won't sign."

    According to Chauner, it costs two million dollars to run the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championships. The race fell into jeopardy in August of 2008 when the city of Philadelphia requested the PCT cover nearly $250,000 in costs for police road closures and other city fees. The event also lost $225,000 from long-term sponsors CSC and last year's sponsor Rock Racing.

    Furthermore, the tough economic crisis precluded long-time broadcasters WPVI-TV from...

  • Cuesta carries on past 40

    Inigo Cuesta (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 8:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish veteran looking to 2010 Vuelta and beyond

    At 40 years old, Iñigo Cuesta isn't planning on retiring any time in the near future and after starting his 16th Vuelta a España last September, the man from Villarcayo recently said he wants to ride more editions of his national tour.

    "Hopefully, at age 41 I will be there [at the Vuelta]. I have a contract with Cervélo for next year and if the team wants, I will return to the Vuelta; then, after 2010, I'll probably continue for longer, although so far nothing is definite," Cuesta told Spanish sports daily Marca. "People talk about the record of participations in the Vuelta and, although 16 is just a number, I realise that there's some importance in it," he added.

    The evergreen Cuesta has started the Spanish grand tour 16 times - a record - having made his Vuelta debut in 1994, riding for the Euskadi-Petronor squad. He's ridden for the Basque team during his career, plus the O.N.C.E outfit, Cofidis, Saunier Duval-Prodir, CSC and now Cervélo. His ride in this year's Vuelta broke the record of 15 held by Fede Etxabe, although he's not content to leave the mark at 16 for long.

    "I am fortunate to be able to do what I like and what I had always dreamed [of doing]," said Cuesta. "What more can I ask? When you're doing well, you don't think about your age, because the key is not age but what's in the head," he explained. "I don't think I am 40 years old, but more about what's best for training, for resting... Maybe, it's a somewhat unusual case, because there aren't many riders who, at my age, still remain in the peloton," he added.

    Cuesta's approach is simple - enjoy every day on the bike as much as possible and remember the reasons why he began the sport. It's a large contributing factor to his longevity in cycling. "I maintain the illusion of the first day [on the bike] and so far I can still easily go out and train. On the contrary, I am enjoying the bike. Sometimes I say that I 'look like a...

  • Cancellara can't pick out his biggest win of the year

    Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) counts his world time trial championships.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 10:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    How he wins as important as victory itself

    Fabian Cancellara can't really pick out his biggest victory in the 2009 season. “For me it's not just about the victory. It matters how I win,” the Swiss Saxo Bank rider said, proud to have ended his season with numerous victories after a weak spring season.

    "It is really difficult to point out the biggest victory this year. It is easier to identify the most significant achievements that have had the greatest personal impact on me,” Cancellara said on the team's website.

    The World championship in his native country “was a unique moment that I will never forget. It was specifically memorable to feel the atmosphere and the encouragement from my fans and it gives me the motivation and ability to make the body burn inside when it truly has to hurt in order to have a slight chance of winning.”

    But also important to him were the time trial and overall victories in the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France prologue. He topped his season off with two stage wins in the Vuelta a Espana and the Worlds time trial title. Those end-of-season wins gave Cancellara “great morale and motivation after a somewhat disappointing spring where the results did not meet my own expectations."

    Now, the Swiss native is using the off-season to spend time with his family and friends, but is also staying in shape with tennis, jogging and mountain bike. “It is good cardiovascular training and it gives me a great opportunity to exercise my co-ordination ability and technique. From now on, I increase the training volume in preparation for next year's season and the hours on the road are intensified gradually."

    The 28-year-old has not yet set his 2010 racing calendar, although he noted he is “very motivated to do well in the spring classics where I would like to get a rematch.”

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -...

  • Flecha to continue Classic hunt at Team Sky

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) rides in Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 10:48 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Flecha to once again target elusive Classic win in 2010

    Juan Antonio Flecha has signalled the Spring Classics will once again be a major goal as he prepares for his debut season with Team Sky. In an interview with Spanish cycling journal Meta 2 Mil, Flecha reinforced his desire to record a victory in a Spring Classic as he reflected fondly on his time at Dutch squad Rabobank.

    In recent years Flecha has confirmed himself as a perennial favourite for the spring Classics. Despite his enigmatic attachment to the series of races traditionally targeted by riders from North of the Spanish border, podium finishes at Paris-Roubaix (2005, 2007) and Ronde van Vlaanderen (2008) have been the closest he has come to the elusive victory.

    "I had hoped that I would already have a Classics victory to my name already," said Flecha. "The way I raced in Roubaix this year showed that I have the urge to win; tactically, I raced much better this year, letting others do the work. Second or third place is not worth much to me, but it's never a bad thing to make the podium at one of the Classics. Next year will be all or nothing."

    This season, Flecha finished third at the Belgian semi-Classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad [formerly Het Volk – ed] before a crash inside the final 20 kilometres of Paris-Roubaix derailed his plans for victory in the French race. Despite the disappointment of once again missing out on victory, Flecha has been able to draw on the positives of his 2009 Classics campaign.

    "It's been a confirmation of my career racing on the pavé, which is what I had sought," he said. "I have been on the podium in Roubaix, Flanders and Het Volk and although I have not yet achieved a victory, I have confirmed that I can still be competitive."

    Flecha will enter the 2010 Classics season as part of a new team, Sky. It will be his first new squad after four years at Rabobank, and is confident that the British team will enjoy a successful debut. He indicated that the success of a team new...

  • Moreni upbeat about paying fine

    Cristian Moreni at the 2007 Tour de France
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 10:53 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Italian wants to make amends and help move cycling forward

    Cristian Moreni, the former-Cofidis rider who tested positive for testosterone in the 2007 Tour de France and whose entire squad abandoned the race as a consequence, will pay a fine of one year's salary to the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI introduced the unique anti-doping measure prior to the 2007 Tour, and while Alexander Vinoukorov, Andrey Kashechkin and Michael Rasmussen also violated anti-doping laws that year, Moreni is the only one willing to pay - and is actually upbeat about it.

    Speaking to L'Equipe, the Italian said that it was him who initiated the payment of a sum equivalent to one year's salary. Asked why he would do this, Moreni answered, "to appeal people's conscience. In cycling, there are rules, but every body just thinks of how to evade them. Let's start to respect our engagements and it will be a big step forward."

    Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer was impressed by Moreni's attitude and welcomed his choice. "He has a lot of courage," Boyer said. "Even more so as nobody had asked him to pay. The UCI has never claimed the debt. The charter turned obsolete, but now, Moreni is returning it some credit."

    UCI president Pat McQuaid meanwhile said that the other riders caught in 2007 (Vinoukourov and Kashechkin for blood doping, and Rasmussen for lying to anti-doping authorities about his whereabouts prior to the Tour) "have appealed the decision to CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport] and we are waiting its decision."

    Moreni confirmed that his former colleagues did not like his move. "Rasmussen has already informed me that he disapproves," the 36-year-old said. "The same goes for Vinokourov, who has the same lawyer."

    After a two-year ban, Moreni now wants to return to pro cycling to finish his career "on a more honorable note. That is why I want to clear my conscience. But not one single manager has contacted me. Yet, everybody should be supportive of those who try to combat doping. I want...

  • Vorarlberg-Corratec files for Pro Continental licence

    Sebastian Siedler showing the wear and tear after a tough day at the office
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 11:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Wants to maintain Austria's presence in the peloton

    Austria will continue to be represented in the peloton in 2010, as Team Vorarlberg-Corratec announced Friday that it has submitted its documents requesting a Professional Continental licence from the International Cycling Union for the coming year. The team fought to arrange its finances and was able to meet the requirements.

    Team Elk Haus, the other Austrian team, announced Thursday that it was folding following the withdrawal of its sponsor.

    “Now we must wait for the licence to be issued, and we are eager to go full force into our fifth year as a Professional Continental team,” said team manager Thomas Kofler. The UCI is expected to issue the licence by mid-December.

    Part of the application was a bank guarantee of more than 300,000 Swiss Francs, not an easy sum to raise for the small team. “We had a filing extension until November 15, and had to fight to be able to keep up the team in a reasonable form,” Kofler said. “Through the cooperation of our current sponsors, the Vorarlberg Land and the bike manufacturer Corretec, as well as some new partners, we were able to meet the professional requirements.”

    Kofler was sorry to see rival team Elk Haus leave the road cycling scene. “Austria absolutely needs a top professional team. It is the only possibility for young Austrian riders to develop themselves for the next level.”

    These young riders will be the team's primary focus in the coming year. “We are quite far with our rider planning and will have some new, hungry young riders,” he said.

    The team struggled in 2009, with only two wins all season, both scored by Sebastian Siedler. But the difficulties also generated new motivation.  “We are going forward with new strength from this fall,” Kofler noted. “I can feel a whole new team spirit. Everyone is pulling together and wants to show what we can do.”


  • Season of disappointment won’t stop McEwen

    Robbie McEwen after January's Down Under Classic, before misfortune and consequent injury hit his season.
    Article published:
    November 13, 2009, 11:05 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Experienced Australian sprinter never considered retirement

    Despite an injury-plagued season, Australian sprinting stalwart Robbie McEwen hasn’t considered retirement and aims to be in peak condition for next January’s Tour Down Under.

    His year was ruined due to a severely broken leg sustained during the Tour of Belgium and the subsequent complications that forced him to miss all three grand tours. It had been hoped he could have recovered from the initial injury, although when complications arose he called time on 2009 earlier than expected.

    “Obviously I had a huge setback this year, breaking my leg at the end of May,” McEwen told Cyclingnews. “I tried to come back from it quickly but I had some persistent problems with the tendon because as it turns out, after some very meticulous scans a problem was found and once the specialist – a Swedish doctor I went to – got inside and did what he wanted to do, saw that there was so much scar tissue around the tendons that there was a lot more work to do. He had to remove all the scar tissue from around the patella tendon.”

    In the style with which he has approached his entire career, McEwen remains focused on riding in 2010, his optimism carrying his through the recovery process. “The operation took place on September 16 and it was a successful - the scar tissue was taken out; I’m moving a lot better and without the pain that I had before that. Now I’m back on the bike every day. I’ve been back on for a month and today, for instance, I did 120km without pain and it’s looking better all the time. Things are going well,” McEwen explained.

    “I didn’t have any thoughts about stopping – I did have the thought, ‘What if this hadn’t happened? I would’ve had a great year…’ I’ve always moved forward, though; I haven’t sat around and said, ‘Poor me, it shouldn’t have happened’. I’ve...