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First Edition Cycling News, June 26, 2008

Date published:
June 26, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • French Olympic mountain bike team named

    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    The French Cycling Federation announced its Olympic Mountain Bike Team just two days after the UCI...

    The French Cycling Federation announced its Olympic Mountain Bike Team just two days after the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. According to Technical Director Patrick Cluzaud, the men's team will include 2004 Olympic champion Julien Absalon, Jean-Christophe Péraud, and Cédric Ravanel while Laurence Leboucher will serve as the sole female French representative.

  • Wynants renews and Kvist joins Team Quick Step

    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    Maarten Wynants renewed his contract with Team Quick Step for an additional two years through 2010....

    Maarten Wynants renewed his contract with Team Quick Step for an additional two years through 2010. Wynants won his team's continued support after classics like Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Amstel Gold Race. The young Belgian has been with Team Quick Step since 2006

    "I'm very happy with the opportunity and faith the team has given me," said the 26 year-old Belgian. "My goal is to further grow and mature, to be worthy of the faith the team has bestowed on me."

    Neo-pro Thomas Kvist will also join the squad beginning August 1 with a contract that will run through the end of 2010. The 20 year-old Danish racer, drew notice after he won a stage and the overall at the Gran Prix de Nations in Canada, an important international U23 race. He also was having a good race at the Giro delle Regioni in April – at least until he had to withdraw due to a fractured clavicle.

    "He's a rider we've been following for a while and who already integrated with the team last winter, participating in the two team retreats," said Team Manager Patrick Lefevere. "Now he'll have the time to grow and mature gradually as part of the team."

  • Elmiger extends with AG2R

    Martin Elmiger
    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    Swiss professional Martin Elmiger extended his contract for a year with the AG2R La Mondiale team....

    Swiss professional Martin Elmiger extended his contract for a year with the AG2R La Mondiale team.

    Beginning with two wins in his first season with the team in 2007 (at the Tour Down Under and GP d'Isbergues), Elmiger made himself an important place in the squad, particularly for the Classics. This year so far, he won a stage of the Tour de Picardie and finished third in the GC. He also finished second at the Tour du Canton d'Argovie, second in a stage of the Tour de Suisse and seventh in the Grand Prix de Waregem.

    The 29 year-old has previously ridden for the Post Swiss Team (2001) and Phonak (2002-2006) and counts eight total professional victories.

  • AFLD delayed in pre-Tour de France doping controls

    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    Due to the ongoing dispute between the UCI and race organizers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the...

    Due to the ongoing dispute between the UCI and race organizers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), the Tour de France will not benefit from the biological passport program for riders run by the International Cycling Union (UCI). Instead, it has been attempting to enhance a passport programme run by the French Anti-doping Agency (AFLD) to support anti-doping testing throughout the three-week race.

    AFLD president Pierre Bordry indicated that traditional Tour de France controls will still be analyzed by the laboratory in Lausanne, also charged with analyzing UCI passport controls, by the same method. "The results of these pre-Tour tests will be added to a blood passport," he said to the AFP.

    The AFLD has been faced with some challenges in acquiring the pre-competition data it needs to perform the passport controls during the competition. The agency said Wednesday that it had completed 30 controls of anticipated starters or half the pre-competition tests it envisioned leading.

    "All the riders are located," said Bordry of the obligation of riders to furnish location information per the contract signed by ASO and the 20 invited teams. Some riders have been controlled multiple times.

    Without access to the UCI's passport program data, AFLD has to get its own data, including controls that must be performed both inside and outside of its territory. "In order to control foreign [non-French - ed.] teams, we are working with national agencies and WADA."

    Of his agency's efforts, Bordry said, "This is not a gift to the UCI but is for the good of cycling." The agency is operating without information from the UCI's program, including the names of the 23 cyclists with questionable results

    As reported in L'Equipe last Friday, the population of controls collected during the Tour will be split. Some will be sent to Lausanne for testing for human growth hormone, a substance believed to have been used by some athletes during the...

  • Halfway through: A review of the ProTour teams' season to date (Part 4)

    Contador gives the thumbs up
    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé What was the first half of the 2008 season like for the 18 ProTour...

    By Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    What was the first half of the 2008 season like for the 18 ProTour teams? Who can be satisfied with their performance and who needs improvement? Or, as the Cyclingnews staff asked, "What went right and what went wrong?" In part four, the team-by-team analysis includes Astana, Silence-Lotto, Team CSC-Saxo Bank and Quick Step.

    Astana

    What went right: Under normal circumstances this would be an outstanding season for any team. 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador has won just about every race that he has entered including the Vueltas Castilla y Leon and País Vasco and the Giro d'Italia – the latter after reportedly being sat on the beach a week before. Andreas Klöden – one of the few big names left over from last year's team – has also chipped in with successes of his own: winning the Tour de Romandie and finishing second in the Tour de Suisse.

    Meanwhile US champion – and last year's Tour third place – Levi Leipheimer has won the Tour of California, and only one bad day in the Dauphiné Libéré prevented him from contesting the victory there.

    What went wrong: Not much has gone wrong on the road; it's off it that the team has hit problems. Despite protestations that the management and team structure has been replaced since the scandals in and after last year's Tour de France, the Amaury Sport Organisation...

  • Hincapie to captain Team Columbia at Tour de France

    George Hincapie (High Road)
    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    George Hincapie will lead Team Columbia for the 2008 Tour de France. The former Team High Road is...

    George Hincapie will lead Team Columbia for the 2008 Tour de France. The former Team High Road is sending nine riders from eight countries and five riders under age 25.

    Hincapie, a veteran of 12 Tours, will serve as road captain and tactical leader on the bike during the race, but the team also consists of a solid lead-out group with the likes of Marcus Burghardt and Bernhard Eisel to support young sprinters Mark Cavendish and Gerald Ciolek. Cavendish has won seven major races in 2008, including two stages in the Giro d'Italia, and will make his second start at the Tour. Ciolek will make his Tour de France debut after winning three stages in the tour of Germany last year.

    Support for Kim Kirchen in the mountains will come from Hincapie, Kanstantsin Siutsou, who won the overall title at the Tour de Georgia this year, and Thomas Lövkvist, who finished fifth overall in the Tour de Suisse last week.

    "We plan to be competitive in every stage without losing the focus on the support for Kirchen in the general classification," said Team Director Rolf Aldag. "This team is able to exploit and dictate the tactics on some stages."

    "The team has been on a big wave of success this year," said owner Bob Stapleton, "and we bring confidence, team work and good spirit into the Tour. It was difficult to select the Tour de France team because so many of riders deserved a spot."

    Team Columbia for Tour de France: Kim Kirchen, George Hincapie Thomas Lövkvist, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Mark Cavendish, Gerald Ciolek, Germany, Adam Hansen, Marcus Burghardt and Bernhard Eisel.

  • Zabel to decide about retirement post-Tour

    Erik Zabel
    Article published:
    June 26, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Ben Atkins and Brecht Decaluwé

    At his team's Tour de France presentation Wednesday, Milram's Erik Zabel announced that he will soon...

    At his team's Tour de France presentation Wednesday, Milram's Erik Zabel announced that he will soon decide about whether to continue his career into 2009. His contract with Milram is set to expire in December.

    "I want to concentrate on the Tour de France and after, in August, I will make my decision," said the 37 year-old German according to the AFP. He will be contesting his 14th Tour de France, where he will contend for the green sprinter leader's jersey and stage wins. He'll celebrate his 38th birthday during the July 7th stage of the Tour.

    The sprinter said he is not having any trouble with motivation now. "But it may be in the first bad hotel or during the first rainy stage that I ask myself why I'm not already done."

    Zabel has won the green jersey six times during his career, from 1996 to 2001. He finished second place at the World Championships in 2004 and 2006. His career continued even after admitting in the spring of 2007 to doping while racing under the team Deutsche Telekom. in 1996.