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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, October 30, 2009

Date published:
October 30, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Columbia-HTC’s Greipel to return Down Under

    Gold jersey time for André Greipel (Columbia-HTC)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 8:32 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    German sprinter leads squad with Rogers

    Germany’s André Greipel will try to add a second Santos Tour Down Under title to his palmares in January, after his title defense earlier this year was hampered by an accident at the Australian race. Race director Mike Turtur announced Greipel’s return to the South Australian race as he revealed Columbia-HTC’s likely lineup.

    “After Greipel’s mishap at the race this year we are pleased he will be back in South Australia,” said Turtur. “History shows that our race is a great start to Greipel’s season. In 2008 he took overall victory and this year started with a stage win in the 2009 Tour Down Under, and continued a winning form all season, with four stage wins at the Vuelta and a total of 20 victories.”

    The opening months of Greipel’s season was ruined at Tour Down Under this year, with the rider forced to fly home after Stage 3 to have surgery on a broken collarbone. He was one of several riders to collide with a parked Police motorbike after being hammered by a gust of wind on the stage.

    Greipel is expected to be joined by current Australian Time Trial Champion Michael Rogers in the American team’s lineup. Rogers competed in this year’s event and claimed the race’s overall victory in 2002.

    Another Australian regular at the race, Mark Renshaw, will once again take part in the race, but this time he’ll have two new sprinters at his side. The team’s new signing Matthew Goss and Hayden Roulston, from Australia and New Zealand respectively, will contest the race as their first with Bob Stapleton’s team.

    “Hayden will be an asset to the team, being an accomplished track rider having won the silver medal in the men’s 4000m individual pursuit and a bronze medal in the men’s 4000m team pursuit at the 2008 Beijing Olympics,” said Turtur, himself a former Olympic track gold medallist.

    “Matthew...

  • Roulston aiming for Southland hat trick

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) finishes ahead of Hayden Roulston (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 9:36 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cervelo rider ready for tough tour

    Hayden Roulston says he’s feeling fresh ahead of next week’s Tour of Southland, where he’s hoping to become the third rider to take a hat trick of victories. Another victory at the Invercargill race, which commences on Monday, would see Roulston join Tino Tabak and Bryan Fowler as the only riders to have won New Zealand’s premier road race three times in its 53 year history.

    “The standard is fantastic, not only with some of our best riders but also some really strong riders and teams from overseas,” Roulston said. “This is a truly good Tour and is so well run. It deserves to have top riders.

    “Kiwis like Jeremy Vennell, Jeremy Yates, Glen Chadwick and others are world class on the road,” he added of the locals competing.

    Roulston believes the structure of his post-Tour de France season will benefit him at next week’s event. Roulston will ride for Columbia-HTC next season having spent 2009 with Professional Continental team Cervelo TestTeam.

    “After the Tour de France I really only raced the world championships,” he said. “So I am looking forward to this. I have trained really well in recent weeks and I think I am in the best form ever – in body and mind – to take on the Tour of Southland.”

    Floyd Landis will take part in this year’s event after a local team offered the American rider the vacant slot in their team. Roulston knows international riders like Landis will need to overcome the difficult weather conditions offered by the race, situated on the southern point of New Zealand’s south island.

    “We’ve had top riders here from overseas before. But you have to be powerful and know how to ride the strong crosswinds. And you are bound to get a bad day with weather. That can totally change the race in one day.”

    Roulston says one team to watch will be United States of America-based Team...

  • UCI/AFLD war of words continues

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 9:41 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Governing body fires back at French agency over Tour de France

    In a 12-pages long report sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Thursday this week, the International Cycling Union (UCI) is has thoroughly replied to the accusations made by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) earlier this month. In response to the allegations of providing preferential treatment to the Astana team during the Tour de France, the UCI has fired back and accused the AFLD's own testing procedures of being "far from perfect".

    According to international news agencies, which were able to view the report, the UCI countered the statements made by AFLD president Pierre Bordry earlier this month. "Now that the Tour is over, it is even more evident that Astana received absolutely no special treatment, except in the sense of their riders being subject to considerably more doping controls than other riders," the report stated.

    Astana riders were subject to 81 doping tests during the race, or more than 10 percent of the total number of tests carried out. "In fact the top individual Astana riders received more than three times the number of tests of most other riders in the race," it continued.

    The UCI further defended its anti-doping programme and accused the AFLD of laxism in its procedures in return. "It is important for everyone to understand that AFLD is far from perfect in the implementation of their own anti-doping activities. By the start of the Tour, UCI had conducted 190 out-of-competition tests on riders short-listed for the Tour, while AFLD had conducted 13 tests. Of these, six were on French riders whom they have access to test all year round.

    "But of great significance is that five of the samples collected from riders in the same French team, were sent to the laboratory with the full names and details of the riders. This completely invalidates the anonymous chain of custody requirements of the Code and International Standard of Testing."

    Moreover, the governing body of the sport said that "several...

  • Grabsch comfortable with management responsibilities

    The Milram team car
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 9:42 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    German looks back on first year as DS

    Ralf Grabsch hasn't had a chance to get bored after retiring last seasonfrom a 13-year pro career. The German moved directly from his bike to the Team Milram car, serving as a directeur sportif this season. The biggest challenge was going from having everything taken care of to being the one responsible for taking care of everything, he told Cyclingnews in an interview.

    The transition to his new duties was not too difficult, however, once he got used to the changes. “It was really a new experience after my pro career,” he said. “As a rider you just show up and everything is taken care of for you. Now, you have to take care of everything and everybody.

    “When I am away with the team, they all come to me. I am responsible for everything,” he continued. “I have to plan, co-ordinate, organise – things you don't see as a rider.”

    The hardest part was “that everyone comes to me: the masseurs, the mechanics, the doctors, the riders. I had to make all the decisions, but I think I got used to it quickly and I hope that I did it well.”

    Grabsch, 36, rode for Milram the last three years of his career, and will take over as head sports director from Christian Henn in the coming year. He said that this basically means that “I will have a closer relationship to the riders. When they have problems, they can come to me. And I will tell them which races they will ride.”

    He finds it a benefit to move into this position so shortly after his own active career. “I can still relate to them, since I was so recently active. I still have good relations with them.”

    Grabsch will still spend a lot of time in the team car at races, more so than sitting at a desk. “I love the sport, and the best is when you are underway, especially at the races. There are so many new situations. I would rather go to races than sit in an office. I am...

  • Gent-Wevelgem to grow in status

    Boasson Hagen makes his move on the Kemmelberg in pursuit of the Liquigas leader.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 10:27 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    New date and length to add prestige to Belgian semi-classic

    The organisers of Gent-Wevelgem, after already having revealed the new date of the event for the 2010 season, moreover plan to extend the length of the race in order to add further appeal to it. The semi-classic, which used to take place in the week after the Ronde van Vlaanderen, will next season be raced on the Sunday before the Tour of Flanders, and feature a route of 250 kilometres instead of a little over 200.

    The new date of Gent-Wevelgem will thereby mark the start of the "Flemish week" of the Spring Classics, and its greater length will attract more riders to use it as a preparation for the 'Ronde'.

    Race director Hans De Clerq told Het Nieuwsblad that "the most important course change is the length. We are still looking for some more passages, another cobblestone stretch here and there, but there will be no fundamental alteration made to the finale."

    The famous Kemmelberg will remain on the parcours, to be climbed twice in the last part of the event which often ended in a bunch sprint in the past. Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) won the event this year out of a breakaway.

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  • Lampre announces new co-sponsor

    Marzio Bruseghin sits in the Lampre train.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 12:21 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Farnese Vini to support Italian ProTour team in 2010

    Italian wine and olive oil producer Farnese Vini has decided to move up into the highest category of pro cycling and become the co-sponsor of Italian ProTour team Lampre next year.

    Farnese Vini started its sponsorship of a cycling team in 2009, when it became the co-sponsor of Professional Continental team LPR Brakes, which had Danilo Di Luca and Alessandro Petacchi under contract. The team, however, folds at the end of this year, and Farnese Vini will step up its sponsorship with Lampre next season.

    "Adding our brand to a ProTour team such as Lampre is the best means to promote the image of our company, which exports its products to 67 countries," said Farnese Vini owner Valentino Sciotti. "Cycling has a extensive marketing reach that only few other sports can provide."

    The team will have Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Petacchi as leaders, with the latter joining Lampre from LPR Brakes along with Lorenzo Bernucci, Alessandro Spezialetti and Daniele Pietropolli. Neo pro Diego Ulissi, two-time Junior World champion, will also ride for the outfit next season.

    Alessandro Ballan, Marzio Bruseghin and Mauro Santambrogio all leave to other squads, while rumour still links two-time Giro d'Italia winner Gilberto Simoni to Lampre-Farnese Vini in 2010.

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  • 2008 Giro: Six to seven possible CERA positives

    Riccardo Riccò kicked off the CERA circus during this year's Tour
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 13:39 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Retroactive testing uncovers possible doping cases

    Six to seven riders at the Giro d'Italia 2008 are reported to have indications of the EPO derivative CERA in their retroactively tested doping samples, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

    Padua public prosecutor Benedetto Roberti ordered 82 samples to be analysed at the anti-doping laboratory of the Italian Olympic Committee's “Acqua Acetosa” training centre, which is accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The prosecutor will now cooperate with the International Cycling Union (UCI) to compare the results with data from anti-doping lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, also WADA-accredited. This should happen with the next weeks, with results to be announced within a few months.

    The stored samples from the 2008 Giro were re-opened and re-tested after Emanuele Sella of Team CSF Navigare tested positive for CERA in the summer of 2008. The Italian had won three stages and the mountain jersey in the Italian Grand Tour that year.

    At the time of the 2008 Giro, the test for CERA was still under development. Since then, numerous riders have tested positive for the drug, including at the Tour de France 2008 and Olympic Games in Beijing.

    The 2008 Giro was won by Alberto Contador of Team Astana, followed by Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Marzio Bruseghin of Lampre. Ricco tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France 2008 and was suspended for 20 months.

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  • Sastre's 2010 programme still to be decided

    Carlos Sastre is relaxed but determined.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2009, 13:56 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Cervélo captain waiting for Vuelta route announcement

    Carlos Sastre of Team Cervélo has yet to decide on his 2010 racing programme, refuting any claims made by Spanish media that he would not ride the Tour de France next season.

    "I was utterly surprised, as at no time did I say what these articles are claiming, according to which I have already opted for certain races for 2010," Sastre said in a press release on Thursday evening. "I really have to stress what I said after the Tour and Giro presentations: that until the Vuelta a España route has been released and until carefully studying all three routes, I am not going to make any comments on the subject," he added.

    The 2008 Tour winner rode both the Giro and the French Grand Tour this year. In 2008, he chose to participate in the Tour and the Vuelta. Throughout his career, the Spaniard preferred the Vuelta to the Giro, which he only raced twice.

    However, Sastre did say that "it would be exciting to win one of these races, having already won the Tour and not having won the Giro or the Vuelta."

    A regular podium contender at the Grand Tours, the 34-year-old finished only 17th at the Tour de France this year.