The Rabobank cycling team management has been given an overhaul, the organisation announced today. Erik Breukink, formerly manager, has been promoted to the position of Technical Director for 2010. He will be responsible for the composition of the ProTour team as well as the race programme, management of team directors and cooperation with the Continental Team.
The organisation will have five directors sportif: Jan Boven, Erik Dekker, Frans Maassen, Adri van Houwelingen and the newest recruit, Nico Verhoeven who moves up from the Continental Team.
"There is a need for coordination and manpower in order to give more intensive support to the riders," said General manager Harold Knebel. "Erik Breukink, with his experience, is the right man for the job. Nico, of course, is a logical complement. As with the riders, we promote from within. Nico has done excellent work with the Continental team."
Breukink said he was looking forward to the new challenge. "Cycling is constantly changing and our organization must change accordingly. The spotlight is now placed on the young riders. With Nico we get someone who has trained most of the boys himself."
Verhoeven was equally enthusiastic. "I was obviously fine with the Continental team, but this is a great opportunity. Our increasing focus on developing talent requires more attention on the riders. The five team leaders are definitely in line and ready to put their strength together."
The vacancy in the Continental team left by Verhoeven has not yet been filled.
Leaked 2010 Giro d'Italia details reveal team time trial, Mortirolo
The 2010 Giro d'Italia will include a team time trial and high mountain passes at Plan de Corones, the Gavia and Mortirolo en route to the final stage in Verona, according to details leaked in Tuttosport. Organiser RCS Sport will present the official route of the three-week stage race on October 24, but its media rival printed details yesterday.
RCS Sport already announced that the race will start in The Netherlands with three stages based around Amsterdam, but the transfer to Italy will reportedly be unusual. The last Dutch stage, which runs from Amsterdam to Middelburg, will end early, at 13:00, to avoid a rest day on the fourth day. The riders will fly south, likely to Torino, and the supporting cars will drive the 1150 kilometres.
There will be two stages in the Piemonte region, a team time trial stage based in Cuneo and a stage in Alessandria dedicated to Fausto Coppi. Cycling great Coppi passed away 50 years ago, and race director Angelo Zomegnan said Tuesday that next year's Giro would celebrate 50-year anniversaries. The riders will then travel through Liguria and Toscana before the first rest day and transfer to Puglia.
From Italy's heel in Puglia, the race will make its way north. The first mountain stage will reportedly be near L'Aquila, site of last year's earthquake. Riders will head from Abruzzo over the border into Lazio to climb the Monte Terminillo (2217m). The riders will then travel north toward Emilia-Romagna for a stage to Marco Pantani's town, Cesenatico.
On Sunday, May 23, the Giro makes its third visit to Monte Zoncolan (1750m). The second rest day, Monday, comes before the Giro's second visit to Plan de Corones. Like 2008, the organisers plan a mountain time trial up the gravel roads, from San Vigilio a Plan de Corones. The riders will travel to Lombardia for a two-stage mountain finale: one includes Passo del Mortirolo (1855m) and the other Passo di Gavia (2618m).
Former pro says AFLD re-testing undermines earlier findings
Former professional Stefan Schumacher has today called for the withdrawal of his positive test results for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and Beijing Olympics. The German seized on an announcement by the French anti-doping authority (AFLD) on Wednesday that said re-testing of samples from 17 riders had revealed no further cases of EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour.
Schumacher was one of four riders to test positive for EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. In a press release issued by his lawyer on Wednesday he claimed that the retrospective testing procedure used by the AFLD in the latest round of analysis differed to that used to determine his positive test result in 2008, a difference, he says, that supports his claim of innocence.
"The AFLD laboratory's test system for CERA was accredited by the French accreditation body (COFRAC) on July 1, 2009, therefore retrospective analysis could be performed with that method after this date," read the statement. "With the development and authorization of the test now complete, the negative results [announced by the AFLD on Wednesday] are evidence that there was no comprehensive use of CERA at the 2008 Tour de France."
Schumacher said the testing of his samples had been carried out what he called "at a very early stage of development" and could therefore be susceptible to false-positive results. He said he had been used as a "guinea pig" by the AFLD, who had "conjured" up his positive test results.
Schumacher's positive for CERA came after analysis of a blood sample taken during the 2008 Tour was carried out by the AFLD in the months following the race. In March this year, Schumacher was banned from competition for two years by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for his use of EPO-CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.
Schumacher also tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in...
Four members of the Kelly Benefit Strategies (KBS) team leave for Africa this week as part of a trip to raise awareness of World Bicycle Relief (WBR). KBS pros Scott Zwizanski, Neil Shirley, Reid Mumford and Alex Candelario will make the 12-day trip to Zambia, accompanying team title sponsor, John Kelly, President, Kelly Benefit Strategies.
KBS chairman Senator Francis Kelly and World Bicycle Relief President and SRAM Corporation Founder F.K. Day will also travel with the riders, helping them to learn firsthand about the impact World Bicycle Relief and its low cost bicycle relief programs have on helping people in developing nations improve their access to healthcare, education and economic development.
"We all enjoy our bicycles and our athletes make a living on them " said John Kelly. "But it's incredible when you see the impact access to the reliable transportation a bicycle affords for people in struggling, underdeveloped countries. In villages and remote locations, a bike can be the key to getting children to school and transporting goods for sale which equals food on the table."
During the trip, the KBS athletes will tour the distribution center of the World Vision-led RAPIDS project - World Bicycle Relief's partner in delivering 23,000 bicycles in support of volunteer, community based HIV/AIDS caregivers in the past three years. They will also spend time building World Bicycle Relief bicycles and caregiver kits.
Other activities will include delivering World Bicycle Relief bicycles to recipients; touring the micro enterprise orientation program in Harmos, which helps local people build their own small businesses; and visiting Bimbe Basic School to interact with students and teachers who will benefit from the World Bicycle Relief bicycles purchased using funds raised by the Kelly Benefit Strategies team.
"I'm really looking forward to this trip and to being able to see firsthand how a bicycle makes a real difference...
Kristin Armstrong has been voted the U.S. Olympic Committee’s top athlete of September, beating tennis player Melanie Oudin and track and field’s Sanya Richards. Armstrong topped the vote which was cast by U.S. Olympic ‘family members’, while the final 10 percent was decided by more than 1500 peoples who voted on the committee’s Twitter site.
Armstrong’s victory was no doubt aided by the exposure which came with her International Cycling Union Road World Time Trial Championship victory in September. Just days later Armstrong narrowly missed a podium place in the women’s road race at the Mendrisio, Switzerland event.
Armstrong is due to retire from riding at season’s end at which point she will join the California-based Proman-Hitsquad team in 2010. Her role within the women’s squad is yet to be decided.
During her decorated career Armstrong has claimed an Olympic gold medal and multiple UCI Time Trial World Championships. Those highlights join a long list of domestic and international victories, plus a swag of national road race and time trial championships.
Queensland’s Jonathan Cantwell has won the 2009 SCODY Cup road cycling series, following the release of the series’ final standings. The 27 year-old finished with 238 points to defeat Sydney’s Richard Lang and sprinter Joel Pearson, also of NSW.
Cantwell came from behind to claim the 14-year-old cup, after missing the first of the four race series’ events - the Lakes Oil Tour of Gippsland. He won the opening stage of the GMHBA Tour of Geelong, took overall honors in the Elgas Tour of the Murray River and then won three stages of the six-day Caterpillar Underground Mining Tour of Tasmania.
Cantwell joins a star-studded list of cup winners, including Leigh Howard, Peter McDonald, Wes Sulzburger, William Walker and Giro d’Italia stage winner David McKenzie.
Garmin-Slipstream rider Bradley Wiggins returns to country of his father when he rides the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, which begins in Ballarat this Sunday.
Wiggins, who finished this year's Tour de France fourth overall, will lead the American squad in its quest to secure the 58th title on offer. He realises the role the event plays in his personal history.
"For my dad it was one of his last races as a professional bike rider and my second father [Great Britain coach] Shane Sutton rode this race and won it," said Wiggins.
In recent times the race has boasted grand tour stage winners on its palmares, which is also something that impresses the triple Olympic gold medallist, who has dominated the individual pursuit at the highest level in recent years.
"It's a long standing event and every year it produces... From Simon Gerrans to Baden Cooke and last year with Stuart O'Grady - it's always got a prestigious winner," he said.
While Wiggins is coming to the end of a taxing season and could be forgiven for taking his foot off the accelerator a little, teammates such as Trent Lowe, Svein Tuft and Chris Sutton - whose father and uncle have both won the event - provide the Garmin-Slipstream squad with an added dimension and several cards to play during the week.
"It's always decided on someone who is in form and has been racing well during the year," noted Wiggins.
Retired pro allegedly bought EPO from Bernhard Kohl's manager
Markus Zberg, a former BMC and Gerolsteiner rider who retired in August this year, has been accused of buying EPO from Bernhard Kohl's manager, Stefan Matschiner. Kohl tested positive for third generation EPO-CERA last year and has since cooperated with Austrian anti-doping authorities, disclosing many details about his own doping practices.
In the final report from the Austrian Federal Criminal Office, Zberg's name is mentioned several times, according to Austrian newspapers. Kohl, as well as Matschiner and his assistant Gernot Winterauer, have reportedly confirmed a transaction of 24,000 units of Dynepo to Zberg in the spring of 2008. Matschiner is also under investigation in the case of the Vienna blood bank "Humanplasma", where a number of athletes from different sports allegedly carried out blood doping.
Zberg has not yet responded to the allegations. The Swiss native retired from the sport in mid-August after breaking his pelvis in a heavy crash at the Tour de l'Ain. Now, the Swiss anti-doping agency is trying to acquire the Austrian investigation report, but because of different anti-doping legislations in the two countries, the process is bound to take some time.
Former Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer, Zberg's team director last year, told the press that he had been in contact with Zberg "through his attorneys" since the beginning of August.
The report also incriminates Michael Rasmussen, Thomas Dekker and Christian Pfannberger, who since 2007 have either been caught cheating or sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI), independent of the Austrian investigations.
Zberg's greatest success in his 13-year career was a silver medal in the 1999 World Championships. He was also Swiss national champion in 2000 and 2008.
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