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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 15, 2010

Date published:
October 15, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • New Luxembourg road team signs three managers

    Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) is Luxembourg national champion.
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 14:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Guercilena, Schmidt and Michaelsen will help lead the Schlecks' new squad

    After much initial secrecy surrounding the details of the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project, the new professional team announced the signing of three team managers. Italian Luca Guercilena, German Torsten Schmidt, and Dane Lars Michaelsen will join General Manager Brian Nygaard and Team Manager Kim Andersen in guiding the team through its initial season on the professional circuit.

    "We are very lucky to have attracted Luca Guercilena to this team," Nygaard said. "With his background and depth of knowledge on the sporting as well as physiological level, he will have a huge impact on the success of the team. Luca was one of the first people I had in mind when this team became reality and I'm thrilled to have him on board. To me, Luca really personifies a lot of what this team is about."

    Guercilena joins the team after years as a trainer and directeur sportif, first at Mapei and then at Quick Step. "I have a lot of friends and good memories at Quick Step, so it was a difficult decision to leave," Guercilena said. "Ultimately it was a professional decision because this new team interests me enormously, and I am very motivated to work with the sort of general classification riders who will be on the team."

    Guercilena began his career as a trainer at the Sport Service Mapei after studying at the University of Milan. Starting as a trainer and manager for the Mapei youth squad, Guercilena became a trainer and directeur sportif for Quick Step in 2003, making him an innovator in his field.

    "Today, it is normal for a team to have a directeur sportif who has a background in sports medicine and works as a trainer for the riders too," Guercilena said. "But back then I think we were the first to have a trainer with the competence of a sports director."

    "I worked with junior racers first, and then with riders like (Fabian) Cancellara, (Fillipo) Pozzato and (Allan) Davis on the U23 Mapei team," Guercilena said. "I enjoy working with young...

  • Howman suspects the Armstrong investigation could be as significant as the BALCO case

    Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) in his final Tour
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 15:24 BST
    Cycling News

    WADA director general compares the two US Federal investigations

    The director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency David Howman has suggested the US federal investigation currently embroiling Lance Armstrong could become as significant as the BALCO investigation that exposed the use of steroids in baseball and athletics.

    Much of the BALCO investigation work was carried out by federal agent Jeff Novitzky. He is also investigating Armstrong and other riders following Floyd Landis' claims of wide-spread doping at the U.S. Postal Service team.

    The Associated Press reported Howman as saying that he suspects “some information will come out of the current inquiries that will be equally as significant as BALCO.”

    Howman refused to back up his comment with details of the ongoing investigation but said WADA had agreed to pass on any information it may have.

    Several witnesses related to the case have already reportedly been questioned in front of a grand jury in Los Angeles in recent weeks. However Armstrong has yet to be formally implicated and has repeatedly denied allegations he took performance-enhancing drugs.

    Speaking more specifically about doping problems in cycling, Howman said, “I think that’s a matter for the sport to address.”

    “Our job is to make sure the anti-doping program is OK,” he said. “If, after that, we still find people who are cheating, they’ve got to sit back and say, ‘What do we do now?”’

  • Cornu and Skil-Shimano go separate ways

    Dominique Cornu (Skil-Shimano).
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 18:21 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Belgian caught by surprise, confident he will secure new squad

    Former Under 23 time trial world champion Dominique Cornu will part ways with Skil-Shimano at the end of this year after the team announced on Thursday that it would not extend the Belgian rider's one-year contract.

    The Belgian told Cyclingnews that he has commenced the search for a new team after being surprised when his Dutch squad would not make an offer for next year.

    "It was unexpected. I had been talking to them and they came back with this news," Cornu said on Thursday morning.

    Cornu joined the team from Quick Step at the start of 2010 and won the opening time trial of the Tour of Belgium in May, finishing second overall in that race. Despite his contribution to the team's total of 12 wins this year, Skil-Shimano cited performance factors its statement, which read, "The team is not confident enough that Cornu will make the expected sporting progress in its ranks next season."

    Cornu admitted he was disappointed with how things had worked out with the team, but that he too had held concerns over his race programme for next season after the Pro Continental squad had been overlooked for a number of bigger races.

    "It hasn't worked out like we wanted. It was definitely not bad, but there were things that could be better," he said. "For me it was important that I could do bigger races, and we'd been hoping all year that we could do a big tour or some of the other big week-long races. But most of the time we didn't get the invitations; I was not happy about that, but neither was the team."

    While Skil-Shimano's announcement comes late in the year, Cornu doesn't expect it to stall the progress of his six-year professional career. He indicated that he is close to securing a deal for the coming season and is hopeful he will have the opportunity to add another Grand Tour following his maiden Vuelta a España with Silence-Lotto in 2008.

    "I hope to be able to announce something soon, but I can't...

  • Koldo Fernandez undergoes collarbone surgery

    Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 21:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Spanish sprinter recovering from Paris-Bourges crash

    Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) underwent surgery today for a left clavicle fracture suffered in the sprint finale of Paris-Bourges on October 7, according to AS.

    His team announced that Fernandez had a complicated operation due to a comminuted fracture in which the clavicle was broken in multiple places, however the surgery "has been a success".

    The 29-year-old Spaniard should be discharged from the hospital on Friday and will return home to fully recover from a litany of injuries sustained in the fall.

    In addition to the clavicle fracture, Fernandez also broke his right cheekbone, lost several teeth and fractured the fifth metacarpal in his right hand.

  • Mosquera to line up for Critérium de Alcobendas

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 21:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Escartin says fans should greet him "as a great champion"

    Despite having tested positive for the suspected EPO masking agent Hydroxyethyl Starch, Spaniard Ezequiel Mosquera is not suspended from competition and is due to take part in this weekend's Critérium Ciudad de Alcobendas near Madrid on Sunday.  The Vuelta a España runner-up is also expected to contest events in Chihuahua and Oviedo.

    The UCI announced last month that Mosquera and his teammate David Garcia Da Peña tested positive for HES during the Vuelta a España. Garcia was later declared positive for EPO as well.

    Despite the test results Mosquera, is free to continue to race until his B-sample has been analyzed and the Spanish federation has pursued disciplinary action because HES is not in the class of performance enhancing drugs.

    It is unknown how Mosquera will be received by the crowds in his first race since the UCI announced the positive test, but former Kelme star Fernando Escartin thinks he should be greeted "as a great champion".

    In an interview with, Escartin spoke out in support of the runner-up, saying he wasn't sure if the UCI was trying to help or destroy cycling. "It's amazing how the UCI can leak these cases," Escartin said. "It seems if a rider takes an aspirin he's a drug addict.

    "Cycling has to hold its head up. I have confidence in the riders. They have to tell their whereabouts 365 days a year, knowing that if they do something that is against the rules they will get caught."

  • Rider protest to delay Tour of Lombardy

     Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) takes the win
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 22:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Peloton objects to Torri's comments on doping

    The start of Saturday's Giro di Lombardia is due to be 10 minutes late, as riders have reportedly organized a protest on the start line against the Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping prosecutor's recent comments.

    Last week Ettore Torri, CONI's anti-doping head, said to the Associated Press, "I'm not the only one saying it. Lately, all of the cyclists I've interrogated have said that everyone dopes... The longer I’m involved in this the more I marvel at how widespread doping is," adding that only a small fraction of cheaters have actually been caught.

    Many in the sport objected to the comments, including the UCI's president Pat McQuaid, Eddy Merckx, Aldo Sassi, coach to Ivan Basso and Cadel Evans, as well as many professional riders speaking out via Twitter and Facebook.

    Giro del Piemonte winner and defending champion in Lombardy, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), confirmed the protest following his win on Thursday, saying that he was approached with the idea by Liquigas-Doimo rider Roman Kreuziger, and agreed.  "We must show the world that the statements of Torri are unfounded," Gilbert said.

  • Olheiser named 2008 US time trial champion

    Michael Olheiser (TriStar Cycling Team) won the men's Elite title
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 0:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Chodroff accepts two-year suspension for EPO use

    USA Cycling on Thursday named Michael Olheiser as the 2008 elite men's time trial champion after the disqualification of race winner Jonathan Chodroff.

    Chodroff admitted last month that he bought and used EPO. He was given a two-year suspension and his results from March 26, 2007 onward have been nullified. His suspension began September 10, 2010.

    With the revision, Olheiser now has three consecutive elite time trial titles after winning in 2009 and 2010.

    USA Cycling's revised 2008 elite men's time trial championship results:

    1. Michael Olheiser (Huntsville, Ala.)
    2. Andy Jacques-Maynes (Corralitos, Calif.)
    3. Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.)
    4. Mark Santurbane (San Luis Obispo, Calif.)
    5. Ian Stanford (Winona, Minn.)

  • A new chapter for Fränk Schleck

    Stage winner Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) looks pleased after earning his first victory of the season.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 9:32 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Tour de Suisse winner reflects on 2010 season and challenges ahead

    With his 2010 season finished, Fränk Schleck is taking time out at home before he embarks on a new chapter in his career with the yet-to-be-named Luxembourg Project team.

    The Tour de Suisse winner and brother of two time Tour de France runner-up, Andy Schleck, recently returned from the Worlds where he finished 16th in the men's road race. However, his top-five placing at the Vuelta drew the curtain on his time at Saxo Bank, ending an eight year partnership with Bjarne Riis. With new challenges on the horizon he's already looking ahead to the New Year and his new team.

    "The goals will be the Classics and the Tour de France," Fränk Schleck told Cyclingnews. "I believe we can win the Tour next year but the opportunity to ride for this team came out of Luxembourg and obviously we are very proud of our country and want to be good ambassadors."

    As yet the team's sponsor has to be announced, however team principle Brian Nygaard has made public several elements, including the managerial staff and partnerships with Luxembourg Mercedes and Trek. It is understood that both Schlecks will be joined by a large proportion of former Saxo Bank riders, while Maxime Monfort and Fabian Cancellara have also been linked with the team.

    "It's not going to be 'the Schleck team' though. It's going to be a team that we're part of and we'll go for the Tour. I'm not going to lie and say that the team for the Tour de France won't see Andy and me being leaders but we'll have a strong team with a lot of good guys," Schleck said.

    As for when the team's sponsor will be announced, Schleck is happy to leave everything to his management, instead concentrating on riding his bike and spending precious time with his young family.

    "It's up to Brian [Nygaard]. I know they want to announce it very soon and it's up to Brian to do that. So far I've been concentrating on riding my bike. The managers handle the rest and I'm just happy to...