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First Edition Cycling News, Friday, September 24, 2010

Date published:
September 24, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Pegasus Racing to announce sponsors next week

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha) nabs his first win since February.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2010, 13:46 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Four teams planned in ambitious 2011 project

    Pegasus Racing will announce the sponsors and full line-up of its team for 2011 next week ahead of the world championships in Melbourne. Currently in the process of applying for a ProTour licence, the Australian outfit also revealed ambitious plans to field four teams at various levels on three different continents next season.

    Pegasus Racing hopes to field ProTour, Continental, under-23 and women’s teams next year that will compete in Europe, North America and Australia. The 25-man ProTour team would be based in Europe, while the 14-man Continental team that competed in the United States this year under the Fly V Australia banner will continue as Virgin Blue.

    Similarly, the Australian-based under-23 team sponsored by Virgin Blue-RBS Morgan will continue in 2011 and a new seven-rider women’s team will be formed and will also race under the Virgin Blue-RBS Morgan name.

    “This is an exciting development and a big commitment, which shows just how serious we are about cycling,” Pegasus Sports Chief Executive Chris White told the Sydney Morning Herald.

    ''Not only are we looking to achieve ProTour status in 2011, we are also looking to bolster our program and make a commitment to women's cycling for the first time. We plan to be a significant, long-term player in all the major theatres of cycling around the world.”

    White is confident of landing ProTour status for his squad for 2011: “We are in the process of finalizing our application and we’re confident of a positive response.”

    Robbie McEwen is the biggest name to commit to the squad for next season so far and he has been joined by Svein Tuft, Luke Roberts, Sergey Klimov and Christian Knees. Earlier this week, the team revealed its interest in pursuing Fabian Cancellara, who has announced his departure from Saxo Bank.

  • Italian team trains in Geelong

    Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo), right, and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) lead the Italian team on their last training ride before leaving for Australia
    Article published:
    September 23, 2010, 16:05 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Bettini's July impressions confirmed

    Italian manager Paolo Bettini has led the Italian team on its first collective training ride in Australia ahead of the world championships. The squad arrived at their base in Geelong last night and trained on the finishing circuit this morning.

    “We were all very keen to ride on the course,” Bettini said. “The impressions I had during our reconnaissance in July have been confirmed today: the course is testing and characterized by wind.”

    Bettini led an advance party of Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo) to inspect the course in July. Of that quartet, only Bennati has missed out on a place in the Italian squad for the Worlds.

    “For a first training ride, I’m satisfied, especially with the great harmony in the team and tomorrow we’ll be ready for a longer ride,” Bettini said.

    Italian leader Filippo Pozzato reiterated his manager’s sentiments when interviewed after the 70km training spin. “This first ride is a confirmation of the sensations I had in July,” he explained. “It’s an unforgiving course. It will be necessary to take it lap by lap during the race to find the best way of approaching it.”

    The Italian selection came in for criticism from Mario Cipollini yesterday, when he suggested to Cyclingnews that it was ill-advised to leave a sprinter such as Daniele Bennati at home.

    As if in response to that claim, Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) was quick to point out the difficulty of the circuit. “It’s not a simple course, it’s tough and demanding,” he said. “The two climbs could make the difference.”

    While the elite men rode the circuit alongside the under-23 squad, the...

  • British cyclists withdraw from Commonwealth Games

    British national champion Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    September 23, 2010, 20:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Riders cite health concerns of Delhi, India venue

    Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift have withdrawn from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, citing the risk of contracting mosquito-borne dengue fever. Approximately 2,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Delhi as an extended monsoon, many unfinished construction sites and stagnant pools of water have combined to make an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos.

    "It's a massive disappoint first and foremost but the hygiene and the risk of getting ill, it was a massive risk," Thomas told BBC Sport Wales. "I don't have a spleen any more [after a racing crash] and that fights infection, so that made it an even greater risk for me [to travel to India]. It's a massive disappointment, I only get to ride for Wales once every four years, but that's the decision I had to make."

    Thomas, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the team pursuit and the reigning British road champion, was a big medal hope for Wales both on the track in the 4,000m individual pursuit and on the road in the road race and time trial events.

    Wales' Geraint Thomas, Isle of Man's Peter Kennaugh and Englishmen Ian Stannard and Ben Swift are all members of the Sky Professional Cycling Team, but Sky principal David Brailsford told BBC Sport Wales that there was no pressure from the team to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games.

    "These situations are down to the choice of the athletes themselves," said Brailsford. "We, at Team Sky, can make recommendations to the athletes but the ultimate decision lies with them. Given the situation they have found themselves in with the Commonwealth Games nobody would blame the athletes for staying away, but there is no instruction from Team Sky on this issue."

    Seventy-two nations are scheduled to compete at the Commonwealth Games which begin October 3 and continue through October 14.

  • Messick looks to bring Alpe d'Huez-style ascent to Amgen Tour of California

    Huge crowds lined the climb of Mulholland Highway during the 2010 Amgen Tour of California's final stage.
    Article published:
    September 23, 2010, 22:35 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Could Lance Armstrong ride in 2011?

    The Amgen Tour of California route will not be announced until October 7 but already speculation has mounted that the race will climb up Mount Baldy for the first time, while race organisers have not ruled out Lance Armstrong taking part in the event.

    What is certain is that the race will be held over eight days with an individual time trial and seven road stages. There will be no prologue, however, or as rumoured, a team time trial.

    "We'll go to ascents we've never been to before, high mountains, and we'll continue to take the race to places we couldn't do in late February," Andrew Messick, AEG president, told Cyclingnews.

    Although he would not confirm the race visiting Mount Baldy, he did add, "We'll have our first legitimate mountaintop finish and we think it will be the hardest final 10 miles that we've ever done. We think that it will be an extraordinary opportunity for both the riders and the fans who want a real Alpe d'Huez experience. The mountaintop finish will be in Southern California. We'll come back to some familiar places and cover some new ground also."

    With the 2011 Tour de France set to hold a team time trial, Messick had considered replicating a similar stage in order to attract as many Tour contenders as possible. However, the decision was made to keep just the individual time trial. "We considered it but ultimately we went against it. Having a team and individual time trial was probably a bit more than what we wanted in a race that's only eight stages and we didn't want to eliminate a lot of riders from winning either."

    The Amgen Tour of California boasted it's strongest field on record in 2010, with Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, Michael Rogers, Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer all taking part. The American stage race runs concurrently with the Giro d'Italia and thus competes for the sport's top stars. Messick...

  • Creed calls Kelly Benefit Strategies home in 2011

    Mike Creed will join Kelly Benefit Strategies for the 2011 season.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 2:15 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Journeyman joins Jonas Carney's crew for one season

    Kelly Benefit Strategies Pro Cycling has picked up Mike Creed on a one-year deal after the American parted ways with Team Type 1. The 29-year-old is the first in a series of new additions set to be announced by the American Continental squad in the coming weeks.

    "My aim for next year is just to race, race well and enjoy myself as a bike rider. The past three years haven't been that enjoyable, especially this last year as I've only had around 20 days of racing. I just want to get a solid year of racing and enjoy racing again," Creed told Cyclingnews.

    Creed is also looking forward to joining up with the likes of Andrew Bajadali and Alexander Boyd.

    "The team is really realistic in their approach and aims but at the same time have some good ambitions. It's certainly an underdog team and they relish that role. They got second at the nationals and they've won a lot of races, with some good guys. Across the board they're a strong team."

    Creed has raced for a number of US domestic teams during his career, including Garmin, Prime Alliance - where he raced with Kelly Benefit Strategies' team director Jonas Carney - and Rock Racing. He revealed that the team had tried to sign him several years ago but that the circumstances and timing had never quite been right.

    "Jonas and I have always had this relationship and he tried to get me on the team in the last few years and it's been kind of cool to see the team develop. I think I'm more comfortable coming to a team like that."

    The signing will give Creed motivation heading into the winter. After an initially strong start to his Team Type 1 career cracks began to develop between him and the management, culminating with him only racing 20 days in 2010 and being left off the roster for last week's national championships.

    "I still ride every day but I've not ridden my road bike in two or three months. I've been on my mountain bike every day," Creed said.


  • Luxembourg team looking likely for Voigt

    Jens Voigt signing autographs at the 2010 Interbike show
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 8:58 BST
    Greg Johnson

    One-year deal inked, but German won't say with whom

    Jens Voigt wouldn't comment on speculation that he will follow the Schleck brothers, Andy and Fränk, to the new Luxembourger team as the German paid a visit to the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, USA this week. Voigt did confirm his professional future is sealed for another season, but his failure to deny parting ways with Bjarne Riis's squad suggests the 39-year-old will leave the Danish outfit.

    "I have signed a contract for one more year, but I can't really tell you," Voigt told Cyclingnews.

    Voigt, one of the oldest riders in the professional peloton, admitted he'd gladly sign a three-year contract if one had been offered to him. He was typically candid when addressing the topic of how much longer his extensive career would last.

    "I've signed for one more year and then we'll see how it goes from there - we'll take it year by year, you know," he said. "When you're 39 years old it's hard to get a three-year contract.

    "I would probably take it, yes," he added when asked if he'd accept a three-year deal. "But I don't want to have this moment where I come to races and get dropped all the time and the young kids go 'hey, listen, we know you have been a good rider but now you're past it'.

    "That's why it's easier to take it year-by-year, but I'm still confident that if I want to continue I will be good enough to get a new contract."

    Despite winning Volta Ciclista a Catalunya's stage four, Voigt named a day at the Tour de France as his highlight for the 2010 season. "I think when I was climbing up the Col de la Madeleine with Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador on my wheel and we took the yellow jersey off the shoulders of Cadel Evans and gave it to Andy," he said. "That was a good moment because I really suffered like a pig to get out there first.

    "I knew I was only there to be a platform for Andy, so not for a second was it about me winning the stage," he said. "I knew from the beginning I just...

  • More riders reconsider Commonwealth Games

    Team Sky's Greg Henderson gives it everything with the champagne.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 9:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Henderson withdraws, Hayman reluctant

    Health and security concerns have made more riders reconsider their participation in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, starting on October 3 in Delhi, India. After Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift of British Team Sky have already announced their withdrawal, their New Zealand teammate Greg Henderson has also cancelled his participation.

    Henderson started reconsidering his position on a flight home with his wife from Europe to Melbourne, where he is competing in the Worlds next week. "It's about my family; it's not just about Greg Henderson any more. I've got to think about my wife [former Australian Olympic cyclist medallist Katie Mactier] and little girl Charlie and they don't want me going to the Commonwealth Games," he told BikeNZ.

    "Realistically it's probably going to be OK and the Games will go on. But where I am in my career, at the moment the negatives outweigh the pros. There are just too many risks," he added.

    After the shooting of two tourists on Sunday, the collapse of a bridge near the main stadium on Tuesday and monsoon floods that have raised the risk of contracting mosquito-borne dengue fever, riders are concerned over their health and security while competing at the Games. Accomodation inside the athletes' village has also been described as "filthy".

    Defending champion in the road race, Mathew Hayman of Australia, is also a member of Team Sky but has yet to make a decision on whether he will compete in Delhi.

    "At this stage I haven't withdrawn, but I've got some concerns about going," Hayman is being quoted in the Sydney Moring Herald on Friday. "I was reading things about extra security and talk about sniper helicopters (following the race for protection) but it's not really the place you want to be. Hiding in buses and getting to and from a race like that doesn't sound like fun.

    "On the other hand I always love representing my country. It's a tough call."...

  • Porte must stay with Saxo Bank, Riis declares

    Richie Porte claimed the white jersey
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 10:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Danish team manager blasts agents for encouraging riders to break contracts

    Richie Porte must honour his contract and ride for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard next year, team owner Bjarne Riis has said. The Dane criticised “managers and agents” for encouraging riders to break their contracts.

    Riis was reacting to Porte's recent comments of a possible team change. “There is a lot of interest in me after what I have done this season, but I have not taken any decision," Porte said.

    “He has a contract and he will not get out of it. He will not be allowed to go. It's as simple as that, and he knows it, too. I cannot understand why he keeps talking about it,” Riis told

    “The problem is that their managers and agents are pushing the riders to their limits and advise their riders wrong. Contracts must be respected,” he said.

    Porte still has one year left on his contract with Riis, who added that the situation of the young Australian talent was different to that of Fabian Cancellara. Riis and the Swiss rider recently mutually agreed to cancel the final year of his contract.

    “It's something else, when you agree,” he said. “Richie's manager continues to provoke and try to push us. We have told them that it cannot happen. He cannot be bought off. Yet they continue.

    “It's fair enough for a manager to ask, but when he is told no, he must stop. He pushes lawyers and everything at us, but according to the rules you don't come out of a contract unless both parties agree.”

    The problem goes beyond Saxo Bank, and Riis expects the International Cycling Union (UCI) to take a stand on the matter, if not action.

    “It's a huge problem in the sport, and this year it has gone berserk. The agents are running around and shop with all sorts of teams and it's not just us who have these problems,” Riis said. “It must stop now, it's unacceptable. Agents are putting ideas into the minds of young riders...