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First Edition Cycling News, January 27, 2009

Date published:
January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Lip Smacker's women squad launched

    Anne Samplonius (Cheerwine)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Professional women's squad Lip Smacker has announced its roster for 2009. The roster is led by...

    Professional women's squad Lip Smacker has announced its roster for 2009. The roster is led by Canadian Anne Smplonius, who is joined by riders from North America, South Africa and New Zealand.

    The squad is an evolution of the America's Dairyland team from 2008, and will again be directed by Melissa Thompson. "I spent the last year directing the pro development squad America's Dairyland and as an elite coach and the experience gave me a sense of what type of riders we needed to build a winning team," said Thompson.

    The team will ride Specialized road and time trial bikes during this year's National Racing Calendar in the United States of America. Lip Smacker was a partner of the America's Dairyland squad last year, before increasing its involvement for this year.

    "The Lip Smacker brand and the Bonne Bell Company have a long history of supporting women's sports" said Buddy Bell, chief executive office of The Bonne Bell Company. "We are proud to sponsor the 2009 cycling team and are pleased to promote and be part of the world of women's bike racing."

    Lip Smacker 2009 roster: Anne Samplonius, Carla Swart, Toni Bradshaw, Amanda Miller, Kate Ross, Anna Young, Hillary Billington and Kacey Manderfield.

    (Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer.)

  • Webcor women's team ramps up for 2009

    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Former world champion time trial bronze medalist and Olympian Christine Thorburn has retired, but...

    Former world champion time trial bronze medalist and Olympian Christine Thorburn has retired, but the 2009 Webcor Builders Women's Professional Cycling Team is pumping up for the future. Olympians Erinne Willock and Gina Grain have returned for another season.

    The Redwood City, California team announced its 2009 official roster, building off of last season's success of four Beijing Olympians. According to team director Karen Brems, this year's goal will be to reassert the team's dominance on the North American stage and road racing scene as it builds towards medal capability at the 2012 London Games.

    "The Webcor Women's Cycling Team is a shining example of an organization that breeds success," Grain said. "Everyone involved, from riders to staff, demonstrates dedication, passion, determination, drive, perseverance, hard work, and a positive attitude."

    Willock and Grain are joined once again by Katheryn Curi Mattis, who made history in 2008 by becoming only the second US rider ever to win a International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Cup event. Winning the Australia World Cup as part of her trade team sent the clear message that Webcor riders were competitive on the world stage.

    Also returning are three rising talents who benefited immensely from racing at the highest level in Australia, New Zealand and Europe with their more experienced Webcor teammates in 2008. They are Rebecca Much, 2008 U23 US National Time Trial Champion, Amy Dombroski, 2008 U23 National Cyclocross Champion, and Janel Holcomb, second overall in the 2008 Green Mountain Stage Race.

    International firepower for the 2009 team comes from Australia, with Nikki Butterfield (nee Egyed) and Alexis Rhodes.

    "Butterfield's daring solo breakaway at the 2008 World Championships Road Race and seventh at the Tour de Berne World Cup showed she will be a force on both the North American and international scene in 2009," Brems added. Meanwhile, Rhodes jump started her 2009...

  • Auber 93 launch '09 team

    Auber 93 was launched
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    French Continental squad Auber 93 has launched its squad for 2009, at a ceremony at the Espace...

    French Continental squad Auber 93 has launched its squad for 2009, at a ceremony at the Espace Renaudie in Aubervilliers in the north of Paris. The squad will primarily race in France throughout the 2009 season.

    Stéphane Javalet's team will start its season at La Marseillaise this weekend. Its season also includes Trophée des Grimpeurs, 4 Jours de Dunkerque, Tour de Picardie and Circuit de Lorraine, among other events.

    Auber 93 for 2009: Fabien Bacquet, Niels Brouzes, Morgan Chedhomme, Tony Gallopin, Nadir Haddou, Dimitri Le Boulch, Julien Mazet, Maxime Mederel, Johan Mombaerts and Jonathan Thire.

  • Allan Davis: Better than ever

    Allan Davis took the ochre jersey on stage two
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Allan Davis' return to the fold of pro cycling and the Quick Step team paid dividends in Adelaide as...

    Allan Davis' return to the fold of pro cycling and the Quick Step team paid dividends in Adelaide as he took out the Tour Down Under. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke finds out that some hiccups in the past should fade into insignificance for this Classics contender in 2009.

    There's a quietly confident aura surrounding Allan Davis this year. Whether it's following yet another Tour Down Under stage win or in the packed bar at Adelaide's Hilton Hotel following his overall victory, the boy from Bundaberg in northern Queensland finds himself in a different predicament as the 2009 season begins.

    It's not just his general classification triumph in Australia's premier stage race, of which he's contested every edition since its inception in 1999. Three stage victories and a 25-second margin over local hero and two-time victor, Stuart O'Grady, is just the beginning of what could be Davis' biggest purple patch since becoming a pro with the Mapei team in 2002.

    The 28-year-old has shown ample promise during that time, and was riding the Tour de France before many of the Australian stars we now see on France's roads in July. Various events conspired to make the road ahead a tough one, although you get the feeling the possibility of giving up the sport during these challenging periods never really crossed his mind.

    An alleged association with the Operación Puerto saga, followed by claims and counter-claims that he was indeed one of Dr. Fuentes' clients came about due to the fact he rode for the Liberty Seguros team in 2006 when its director Manolo Saiz was arrested for his involvement in the Spanish scandal prior to the Tour de France. Davis vehemently denied being involved and had to fight to save his...

  • Bobridge's efforts earn Sanders' praise

    Jack Bobridge (Uni-SA)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Australian cycling coach Dave Sanders has sung the praises of Jack Bobridge, following the rider's...

    Australian cycling coach Dave Sanders has sung the praises of Jack Bobridge, following the rider's ProTour debut. Sanders directed Bobridge as a member of the Australian National Team UniSA at last week's Tour Down Under.

    "He is a phenomenal talent, he has a heart as big as a lion," said Sanders.

    Bobridge gained a reputation as a relentless attacker during the event, with his efforts in the pre-Tour Down Under Cancer Council Classic criterium just a demonstration of what would follow. The rider's efforts earned the 19-year-old the praises of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who he attacked the peloton with on one stage of the race.

    "He doesn't need to go professional this year, he is only 19; maybe Pro Continental, with the Australian National team," said Sanders, before adding that Cycling Australia will be looking after the rider. "We hope to have something in place so we can look after him. There has to be plans from Cycling Australia to look after these guys, so we can keep them in the team. He is on his way."

    Sanders said while Bobridge has already have professional teams knocking at his door, the rider's short term future is mapped out.

    "He has already had knocks on the door, don't worry about that, his future is planned for the next two or three years," he said. "He is targeting the next Olympic [London in 2012] and we have to protect him from doing things too early. He is still only a 19-year-old kid, his future is assured if he keeps doing what he is doing, he just needs to moderate over the next couple of years."

    Earlier this month Bobridge won both the Australian Open Road Under 23 road race and time trial titles.

  • Bordry says Schumacher case proceeding normally

    Pierre Bordry
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    A day after Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere threatened to sue the French Anti-Doping Agency,...

    A day after Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere threatened to sue the French Anti-Doping Agency, AFLD, over non-action, the agency's head, Pierre Bordry, said that it has held its hearing concerning Stefan Schumacher's positive controls for CERA last week and "the procedure is going on in the normal way".

    Schumacher, who won both of the time trials in the Tour de France, was contracted to Lefevere's Quick Step team until he tested positive in the AFLD's post-Tour analysis of blood samples with its newly developed procedure for detecting the new version of the blood boosting drug erythropoeitin.

    However, Schumacher, through his attorney Michael Lehner, denied using the drug and threatened to sue the AFLD for slander.

    With the season already underway and no sanction yet handed down, Schumacher announced he had applied for his 2009 license, which Lehner said should be issued since there was not a procedure underway against him.

    The pronouncement seemed to create massive confusion, as the German federation said that it had questions which must be answered before deciding to issue a license to Schumacher, and Patrick Lefevere of Team Quick Step threatened to take Bordry to court to find out what was happening in the case.

    What was not reported until Monday was that a hearing concerning Schumacher's case with the AFLD was actually held the day after Schumacher's inflammatory pronouncements. Interviewed on muax.de, Bordry said that the case has been progressing, and that a final decision is being discussed.

    The agency informed Schumacher of the positive tests on October 7. Bordry confirmed that the B samples have not yet been opened, since Lehner said on...

  • Damsgaard faces criticism over anti-doping programme

    Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Doctor Rasmus Damsgaard has recently become the subject of public criticism by his former boss, who...

    Doctor Rasmus Damsgaard has recently become the subject of public criticism by his former boss, who has questioned his ethics and independence in running the anti-doping programs of CSC/Saxo Bank and Astana in an interview with the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidene. Damsgaard was once heralded as the creator of the "best doping control program world-wide", but has now split with the hospital which helped make the program a reality.

    One of the issues which drove a wedge between Damsgaard and Dr. Bo Belhage, the chief of medicine at the Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, was the return of Lance Armstrong and word that the American would be subject only to his own personal testing regime under Dr. Don Catlin.

    Damsgaard, who began the testing paradigm in 2006 with then-Team CSC did so under contract with the Bispebjerg Hospital. Dr. Belhage helped start the programme, but began to have concerns about how Damsgaard was running it which culminated in the hospital refusing to extend its contract with Damsgaard. The latter subsequently took the programme and started his own for-profit company called Radar which is now in charge of testing riders.

    Among Belhage's concerns were the payments to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, the man at the heart of the Operación Puerto scandal, made by Frank Schleck "for training plans", a gift of an expensive team bike given to Damsgaard from CSC/Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis and, finally, the rumour that Astana's newest recruit, Armstrong, would not submit himself to the testing by the Danish doctors.

    Belhage felt that it was imperative that Armstrong be treated like the rest of the team. "We must not only see his values - we must also take the samples. We should be the ones who are knocking on his door at two o'clock at night saying, 'Lance, now you piss in the pot.' That's it. ... I...

  • Cunego thankful for technical Giro time trial

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre)
    Article published:
    January 27, 2009, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    By Gregor Brown Damiano Cunego previewed the Giro d'Italia's long time trial last week during a team...

    By Gregor Brown

    Damiano Cunego previewed the Giro d'Italia's long time trial last week during a team Lampre training camp. The Italian believes that its technical aspects will keep him in the hunt for the overall race title, with Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas).

    "I returned home satisfied with what I saw. It is hard, with two long climbs and then technical descents. It is certainly better than a flat and long time trial," Cunego told Cyclingnews from Team Lampre's training camp in San Vincenzo, Italy.

    He made a trip during the camp to Liguria to preview the 61.7-kilometre time trial that will feature on May 21 in the Giro d'Italia, May 9 to 31.

    Cunego won the Giro d'Italia in 2004 and he said he is near certain to line up in 2009 to try for win number two. The time trial will be a key turning point for Cunego, who is not as skilled at the discipline as Armstrong and Basso. However, with the climbs of Passo del Bracco and Passo del Termine he will remain in the overall battle.

    Cunego escaped the cold of northern Italy earlier this month to train for his season's goals in Tuscany with his teammates. He will return for a week at home today and then return south for another 10-day training block.

    "We are getting some good training in and the weather is not so bad. Sunday was the first time I rode for six hours this year; 205 kilometres with climbs, some specific work, and a little bit of motor-pacing at the end."

    Cunego noted the early start of his Giro rivals because of their previous long periods without racing. Armstrong and Basso both did not race last year. Cunego had a full 2008 season that included wins in the Amstel Gold,