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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 21, 2011

Date published:
October 21, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Freire confirmed with Katusha

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 12:54 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Spain’s ex-world champion will end his career with Russian team

    Three-time world champion Oscar Freire has signed a one-year deal with the Russian Katusha team, in the process rebuffing offers from Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Ridley and Geox, who were also interested in securing his services for the 2012 season. The deal between Freire and his new team was signed just hours before the deadline set for the registration of ProTeam riders with the UCI.

    Freire is reported to have been swayed by Katusha because the Russian team will have a number of other Spanish riders on its roster next season, including stage race leader Joaquim Rodríguez. Freire was also tempted by Katusha’s well-organised structure, its guaranteed entry into WorldTour races and the fact that the only other sprinter on the team is young Russian Denis Galimzyanov.

    After his nine-year link with Rabobank ended apparently due to a misunderstanding about Freire’s intentions for next season – the Dutch team was led to believe the Spaniard was intending to retire – Freire and his brother/manager Antonio have been adamant that they would only consider offers for teams guaranteed access to the biggest races on the world calendar. Freire would like to have one more shot at Milan-San Remo and the World Championship, both of which he has won three times, as well as giving himself the chance of a fourth Olympic appearance in London, where the course should suit his all-round talent.

    Freire, who will turn 36 in February, will be the seventh Spanish rider on the Katusha roster, joining Rodríguez, Dani Moreno, Joan Horrach, Alberto Losada, Xavier Florencio and Ángel Vicioso. The latter two have recently signed with the Russian team. Both are fast finishers who should provide Freire with...

  • Gilbert ready to work for Evans at 2012 Tour de France

    Future BMC teammates Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans see what's in store for them at the 2012 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 14:04 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian believes Tour offers best preparation for Olympics

    Philippe Gilbert does not believe that working for Cadel Evans at the 2012 Tour de France will have a negative impact on his Olympic Games aspirations. One of a number of marquee acquisitions for BMC ahead of next season, the Belgian insisted that he is prepared to put his shoulder to the wheel in support of Evans’ defence of his title.

    “I think that in general the riders who are at the Tour de France will have an advantage for the Olympics, so it’s definitely a good thing to ride the Tour,” Gilbert told reporters in Paris after the route presentation. “The Olympics are something very different, but it will still be a good approach.”

    With the London 2012 road race taking place on Saturday July 28, riders who finish the Tour will have less than a week to recuperate ahead of the Olympics. Gilbert dismissed the idea that he might temper his support of Evans in the Tour’s final week in order to preserve his energy.

    “It’s not a problem, you can never work too much,” he smiled.

    The 2012 Tour will thus see Gilbert reprise the kind of support role he played at the 2009 Vuelta a España, when he and Evans were teammates at Silence-Lotto. On that occasion, Gilbert was using the Spanish race to fine-tune his form for the world championships in Mendrisio, a race that Evans would ultimately go on to win.

    “I’ll be very happy to start the Tour alongside Cadel, who will be wearing number one and setting off with the ambition of winning again,” Gilbert said. “That’s going to be a great experience.

    “I did a Vuelta a España with Cadel in 2009, which he almost won. In the end, he was third. I helped him to the best of my ability and...

  • Geox pulls sponsorship from cycling

    Race leader Juan Jose Cobo discusses the finish with his teammate
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 17:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Gianetti's Vuelta-winning team without bank guarantee for UCI license

    The future of the Geox-TMC squad hangs in the balance after its principal sponsor failed to provide the bank guaranteed required for the team’s registration with the UCI ahead of the 2012 season.

    The team later confirmed that Geox will cease its sponsorship at the end of the year, but the team's management company could appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for compensation from the shoe-maker. The team did not confirm it will cease to exist in 2012, but the lack of a bank guarantee will make it impossible to get a UCI license.

    In a statement released on Thursday afternoon, Club Deportivo Bike Live, the holding company that manages the team, said that “in breach of contractual obligations, the Geox company has inexplicably refused to deposit the bank guarantee required to complete the registration of the team on [sic] the UCI.

    “Club Deportivo Bike Live will ask Geox for the execution of contracts and some compensation regarding damages before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

    Thursday, October 20th marked the deadline for teams to submit the contracts of at least 15 of their riders to the UCI. While Club Deportivo Bike Live confirmed that it had forwarded these contracts to the UCI as part of its licence application, the team acknowledged that its future is in severe doubt.

    “The team of Bike Live may not be able to continue for these reasons,” read the statement.

    Although the team convinced Vuelta a España winner Juan José Cobo to pen a new contract in recent days, doubts had begun to surface about Geox-TMC’s viability when it was not listed among the initial applicants for WorldTour licences on October 5.

    Geox came...

  • Valverde close to Movistar return

    Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde was looking chilled out at the start.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 18:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard free to return on January 1

    Alejandro Valverde is at an advanced stage of his negotiations to return to the peloton in the colours of Movistar when his suspension for his part in Operacion Puerto expires on January 1. He was riding for the team, then known as Caisse d’Epargne, when he was finally banned for the 2006 case in May 2010.

    “There’s nothing done yet, but it’s true that there is good feeling between both parties. It’s not a done deal but it’s true that everything is very advanced,” Valverde told

    “It’s true that there have been offers from other teams. But as I’ve said other times, I have to be grateful to my previous team, they have been very good to me. I was very happy with them and I think we have to be grateful.”

    Valverde was first accused of blood doping under the supervision of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006, but it took almost four years and the intervention of the Court of Arbitration for Sport before he was given a worldwide sanction. DNA testing of a blood sample taken by the Italian Olympic Committee during the Pratonevoso rest day at the 2008 Tour de France was ultimately enough to link Valverde to the blood bags seized from Fuentes.

    Valverde was suspended on May 31, 2010, and saw his results from the first five months of that season expunged from the record books as his ban was backdated to January. The Spaniard stated that he was determined to ride the Tour de France and world championships in 2012.

    “They are the two races that I have in mind,” he said. “The Worlds because I’ve often come very close, I have two silver medals and a bronze, and I know that I can...

  • Rapha Condor Sharp to focus on development in 2012

    Team Rapha Condor Sharp signs in.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 19:47 BST
    Cycling News

    Top British team to foster young riders with academy

    Britain's number one-ranked Continental team has renewed its partnership with sponsors Rapha, Condor and Sharp, but rather than try to enter the Professional Continental ranks, the team has decided to foster the development of young riders by forming its own development programme.

    A team press release states that the team's management and sponsors wanted to support a growing British racing scene. "We firmly believe that the Rapha Condor Sharp team can make more of a contribution to UK racing by taking a different approach, with a different ambition," said Rapha CEO Simon Mottram.

    That ambition involves a development program and the eventual creation of the Rapha Condor Academy, a program designed to supplement the existing British Cycling Academy, which has limited space.

    "... promising juniors and espoirs have very few opportunities or openings to get into the sport and move up through the ranks," said Mottram. "For all the professional teams competing for TV airtime and UK professional race victories, few structured programs exist to develop and nurture British racing talent. The British cycling academy only has spaces for the best eight young riders each year. There are no programs in this country to rival the proven systems such as those run by Rabobank or AN-Post".

    "Starting in 2012 Rapha Condor Sharp aims to fill that gap with its own development program and, ultimately, a cycle racing academy."

    The team will begin by giving young British riders a spot on the team alongside the team's most experienced riders - Andrew Tennant, Ed Clancy MBE, Kristian House, Dean Downing and James McCallum.

    They will mentor six under 23 riders who will be added to the team for 2012. In addition, the squad will continue to hold a mix of domestic and international talent until it can foster enough talent to have a UK-only team.

    The team announced new domestic signings Richard Handley, Luke Mellor, Tim Kennaugh and Oliver...

  • Geox riders free to leave, says UCI

    Mauro Gianetti is still with the team despite rumours that he had been forced out
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 21:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Team's application incomplete

    The Geox-TMC team of Vuelta a España winner Juan Jose Cobo is likely to collapse after its title sponsor, shoe-maker Geox, announced today it would cease its involvement with the sport at the end of the season.

    The UCI confirmed to Cyclingnews that the riders are free to seek contracts with other teams, and have been since the squad failed to meet the October 1 deadline to complete its application for a 2012 license.

    "Geox's file at that time was not compete and for that reason the team didn't appear on the first list we released," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said.

    However, since the announcement of the sponsor's exit came after the October 15 deadline to submit rider contracts to the UCI, the riders' points will likely not be counted toward his new team's rankings toward the WorldTour, making Cobo's Vuelta win essentially worthless.

    Job prospects for the Geox riders are dimmed further by the demise of HTC-Highroad and the merger of Leopard Trek and RadioShack, which has already shrunk the job market for the sport's top riders considerably, even with the formation of the GreenEdge squad.

    The team's management company, Club Deportivo Bike Live issued a press release today stating that Geox had refused to deposit the bank guarantee required to complete its application to the UCI.

    Despite renewing the contract of Cobo, the team said it may not be able to continue, but vowed to take Geox to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in order to hold it to its sponsorship contract.

    It's the second year of troubles for team manager Mauro Gianetti, who fell afoul of his new sponsor last December when the squad failed to be granted a...

  • Dotti suspended by USADA for doping

    Juan Pablo Dotti
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 22:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Elite rider tested positive at Tulsa Tough

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today that Juan Pablo Dotti, of Duluth, Georgia, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and has accepted a suspension for his doping violation.

    The 27-year-old, a native of Argentina, tested positive for an anabolic agent and amphetamine on June 12, 2011 in the final stage of the three-day Tulsa Tough in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Dotti, racing for the elite amateur Aerocat Cycling Team, finished second on the Riverview Criterium stage and placed sixth overall.

    Dotti accepted a two-year period of ineligibility, which began on August 13, 2011, the day he accepted his sanction. As a result of the sanction, Dotti is also disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to June 12, 2011, the day the sample was collected, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.

    Dotti had raced professionally in 2007 and 2008 for the Cinelli-OPD team and won stages in the Vuelta a Venezuela, Vuelta a Navarra, Clasico Banfoandes and Vuelta del Uruguay. He had also represented Argentina at the road world championships.

  • Jelly Belly p/b Kenda adds climbing talent

    Jelly Belly used the Tour of California to show off its new Dips - chocolate covered gummy beans offered in five flavors.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 23:40 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Candy company commits through 2013

    UCI Continental team Jelly Belly p/b Kenda beefed up its roster by signing four new climbers including Americans Scott Stewart and Menso de Jong along with Dutch rider Ricardo van der Velde and Mexico’s Luis Enrique Davila. Directeur Sportif, Danny Van Haute will bring an improved climbing team to the top stage races in the US and Asia during the 2012 season.

    "They bring experience and strength in their climbing ability," Van Haute told Cyclingnews. "I looked at our team over the last few years and we were always short on climbers and these days you need one or three good climbers on the team to be in the hunt to win. Also, Scott and Ricardo bring experience to the team, coming from Pro Continental teams."

    Stewart joins the team having competed for two seasons under the Professional Continental outfit Team Type 1. He has placed inside the top ten at stages of the Vuelta Mexico, Tour of Quinghi Lake, Tour de Korea and Settimana Coppi e Bartali. He will be joined by van der Velde who raced with Donkers Koffie-Jelly Belly this year, however, his previous experience with ProTeam Garmin-Transitions will no doubt add to the domestic program.

    De Jong comes from Continental team Wonderful Pistachios and is a strong collegiate racer in the mountain bike and road disciplines. Davila brings his climbing expertise from the Mexico’s Under 23 National Team.

    "Finding these riders is not a big challenge at all, over the race season we are always looking for new riders and it's as simple as looking at results every weekend and seeing who is always riding in the top ten local or national races," Van Haute said. "Another way is coaches in the field that you trust, that will give you a good recommendation for a rider like...