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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, August 24, 2009

Date published:
August 24, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Davis looking forward to Vuelta start and Worlds after missed Tour

    Allan Davis (Quick Step) wins stage two of the Tour de Pologne.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 15:36 BST
    Ben Atkins

    Quick Step rider ready to improve on last year's result at Grand Prix Ouest-France

    Allan Davis (Quick Step) is confident of his form as he heads into the Grand Prix Ouest-France on Sunday in Plouay, a race at which he finished fourth in its previous edition.

    Last year, while racing for Mitsubishi-Jartarzi, Davis won the bunch sprint behind a three-man breakaway in Plouay. This year, Davis said he was relatively fresh after having missed the Tour and has confidence that given the right conditions he can perform strongly once again.

    "My condition’s quite [good]," he told Cyclingnews before the start. "I’ve raced well here in the past. It’s a bit of a lottery this race, you can play every card but there’s only one that’s going to pay off. Whether it’s an attacking move at the end or it’s going to be decided by a bunch of 30 to 40 guys.

    "I'm definitely going to have a go and we’ll see what happens," said Davis.

    Of all the riders forced to miss last month’s Tour de France, Quick Step’s Davis caught one of the toughest breaks. He was sidelined at the very last minute by the late reprieve of Belgian champion Tom Boonen. The fact that the Paris-Roubaix winner’s best placing on any stage at the Tour was twelfth in the team time trial only serving to rub salt into the wounds.

    Having missed the Giro and the Tour, Davis will line up next weekend at the Vuelta a España for the final - though his first - Grand Tour of the year. He hopes that results in Spain will go his way and earn him a place in the Australian team for the World championships road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland. "I’m straight to the Vuelta from here and then hopefully the Worlds and Paris-Tours."

    Despite being a sprinter, the compact Australian feels that, in the right circumstances, the course in Switzerland could suit him. "[We] went round [the Worlds course] earlier in the year. It’s going to be tough. I’ll have to be in super condition to...

  • Tired Haussler inspired by teammate Pooley

    An elated Heinrich Haussler on the Tour de France podium
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 15:40 BST
    Ben Atkins

    Cervélo men seek to double up in Plouay

    Cervélo's Australian-German Tour de France stage winner, Heinrich Haussler, approached today's Grand Prix Ouest-France as just one of many options for his team; a team that has shown itself all year to be able to do well in all kinds of scenarios.

    "Yeah," he said, "we've got a good team, with Thor [Hushovd] and also with [Xavier] Florencio and with Simon [Gerrans]. We've got guys who can attack and go off with groups at the end, or we can also try and keep it together for the sprint. We'll see what happens in the race and then we'll make our tactic."

    The weekend double of Saturday's World Cup race for women and Sunday's ProTour race for men gave the two parts of the Cervélo TestTeam a rare chance to be in the same part of the world - and to race on the same course - as each other. Yesterday's emphatic victory by Emma Pooley could surely not fail to inspire and motivate the men's team to perform today.

    "Definitely," Haussler said. "She rode really strong yesterday - I heard - for sure we're going to go for the double, try and do it in the men's race today."

    It's been a long season for Haussler, whose season started on February 1st with the Tour of Qatar. So much so that he will be hanging up his wheels for the year a little earlier than many. "I'm going home for a couple of days," he said, "then go to the Tour of Missouri. After that I'm finished for the season."

    Instead of the Vuelta a España, World Championships or autumn classics, Haussler will be laying the foundations of next year's spring campaign, in the hope of bettering at least one of his two second places at Milano-Sanremo and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.

    "I need a rest," said Haussler. "My head's tired, I'm going to have a good rest so I can go and train hard in the winter and get ready for the Classics again. I'm going to do pretty much what I did last year, so I need to go pretty much fresh into the winter. It's been so long since...

  • Clinger back on track at Tour of Utah

    David Clinger in his Webcor cycling days.
    Article published:
    August 23, 2009, 23:56 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Former pro kicks drug habit, begins process of removing facial tattoo

    David Clinger is better known amongst his cycling peers for his somewhat shocking full facial tattoo etched under his skin. The markings are symbolic of his step down from pro bike racing, a career full of potential turned over to a world of drug abuse and occasional jail-time. Now, four years after his athletic career went awry, Clinger is back at the Tour of Utah and the infamous mask is ready to come off.

    Scrolling down the list of daily results at the Tour of Utah might not reveal overwhelming success for Clinger. With the exception of a fifth place in stage one, Clinger is found mid-pack in the rankings. What the results do not show is his battle to pull his life back together after running astray from professional cycling and down a dark path of cocaine addiction that led to police arrests and subsequent time in jail. When you look at it that way, his average rank in what is billed as 'the toughest stage race in America' is nothing short of spectacular.

    The facial tattoo embedded into the skin around his eyes, cheek bones and scalp begs the question, what drove this former pro, a good-looking and well-spoken guy down the wrong path? For all intents and purposes, Clinger had already made it to the top of a sport that bows down to no one.

    Clinger bounced between European professional teams: the Discovery Channel team alongside Lance Armstrong, the French-based Festina squad and the Italian Domina Vacanze team, hired to work for the famed Italian sprinter, Mario Cipollini. Only Clinger himself can comprehend his downward spiral that followed the next five years.

    "I had a lot of reasons to get this tattoo," said Clinger who spent two years in the province of Mendoza, Argentina, and whilst there studied the historic Maori warrior culture of New Zealand. "I was mad. A lack of respect. It was a scare tactic. The day I got the tattoo, I was walking in the park looking for cocaine and an hour later I was high. I changed in the way I...

  • Nibali's season over after fractured collarbone

    GP Camaiore winner Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 11:03 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Vincenzo Nibali crashes in Eneco Tour and will miss worlds

    Vincenzo Nibali crashed and fractured his left collarbone on stage five of the Eneco Tour to Sittard-Geleen, Netherlands, yesterday. It brought an end to his season and ruled him out of the world championships.

    "Vincenzo was heading towards the world championships in Mendrisio in the best shape possible," said Liquigas team manager, Roberto Amadio.

    Nibali rode at the front in the finale of the 204.3-kilometre stage to fight for the stage win and protect his place in the overall classification. However, he crashed on a decent, slid and hit his left shoulder.

    He started the stage in sixth overall, 37 seconds behind USA's Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream). Lars Bak (Saxo Bank) won the stage and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) took over the race lead.

    Nibali, 24, finished seventh and best Italian at the Tour de France in July. He won the Giro dell'Appennino in June and the GP Camaiore in August.

    He could have been one of the team leaders for Italy at the world championships, September 27. The team director, Franco Ballerini, will now look to build a team around defending champion Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego.

    Nibali returns home from The Netherlands this afternoon. Team doctor Roberto Corsetti said there is a possibility Nibali will have surgery to help the collarbone heal faster.


  • McQuaid praises Tour's lack of positive tests

    UCI President Pat McQuaid wants in all the ProTour races.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 11:52 BST
    Gregor Brown

    UCI President says Tour de France passed without positive doping cases

    The Tour de France passed without doping positives and cycling could be coming out of a difficult period, according to International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid, yesterday.

    "I haven't heard of any positive tests at this year's Tour de France or that we're checking samples to confirm positives," McQuaid told Reuters at the Tour of Ireland.

    Spain's Alberto Contador won the Tour de France, July 4 to 26, by 4:11 over Andy Schleck and 5:24 over teammate Lance Armstrong. It was the second year anti-doping testers used biological passports to control blood values. They used the passports in addition to traditional methods of searching for specific banned drugs.

    Four riders tested positive during the race in 2008, including double stage winner Riccardo Riccò. Testers caught other riders, like Bernhard Kohl, after the race when they re-tested samples. Kohl finished third overall and won the mountains classification.

    "It's been a difficult moment for cycling because of the doping scandals, but I think we're coming out of it and going into a good period," said McQuaid.

    However, the biological passport is unable to catch some "sophisticated" cheats, anti-doping campaigner David Walsh told Cyclingnews this month. "The evidence we have so far is that the guys towards the winning end of the classification in big races are still significantly ahead of the UCI's checks," said Walsh.

    Walsh pointed to studies by Antoine Vayer, a former coach from the Festina team. Vayer analysed data from the Grand Tour's major climbs and rider's power outputs.

    One doping positive was indirectly associated with the 2009 Tour de France. The UCI announced after the race that Spain's Mikel Astarloza, winner of stage 16 to Bourg-Saint-Maurice, tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) in an out-of-competition control on June 26.

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  • Petacchi signs with Lampre-NGC

    All smiles from Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) on the podium after his win in stage three of the Giro d'Italia, which gave him the leader's maglia rosa.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 13:06 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi with top-level Lampre team for two years

    Italian sprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, has signed a contract with Lampre-NGC for the next two years. He will leave Fabio Bordonali's LPR Brakes team one year earlier than scheduled.

    "I am splitting with LPR and Bordonali on good terms, but I couldn’t compete in races I wanted to," Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport Saturday.

    His wins and Danilo Di Luca's second overall were a success for the second-division team of Fabio Bordonali. But Bordonali struggled with non-invites to several important races and the recent news that Di Luca doped during the Giro. Di Luca faces a likely two-year suspension for using banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) - CERA.

    Petacchi won the sprinters' classic Paris-Tours in 2007 and a total 19 stages of the Vuelta a España, but LPR Brakes will miss both races this year.

    "Up until after the Giro I had a good season, and won 10 races. I was competitive," said Petacchi. "Not being invited [to the big races] is belittling."

    Lampre-NGC is a first division ProTour team and races all of cycling's top races. Petacchi believes he can win races for the team in the next two years despite emerging sprinters like Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar.

    "I’m looking forward to the next two world championships, Melbourne and Copenhagen. Mario Cipollini did not win [Worlds] until he was 35."

    Petacchi has been Italy's leading sprinter since the retirement of Cipollini. He has won 21 Giro d'Italia and four Tour de France stages, in addition to his Vuelta a España stages. He won Italy's biggest one-day race in 2005, the Milano-Sanremo.

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  • Ballan testifies to being offered EPO

    Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-N.G.C) at the startline of the GP Ouest France
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 14:31 BST
    Gregor Brown

    World Champion Alessandro Ballan said an amateur cyclist offered him blood booster EPO

    World Champion Alessandro Ballan testified in the Via col Doping investigation that an amateur cyclist offered him third generation Erythropoietin (EPO), CERA.

    "They offered me CERA, but I refused it," Ballan said in the investigation, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

    Ballan testified as a witness, not a suspect, in Via col Doping ('Out with Doping'), Padova, Italy. Prosecutor Benedetto Roberti heads the investigation which began after Emanuele Sella's testimony.

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) tested Sella July 23, 2008, at his home in Vicenza and the blood controls showed him positive for EPO-CERA. He cooperated with prosecutors and named then-teammate Matteo Priamo as his suppler.

    Sella served a one-year ban and returned to cycling last week at the Coppa Agostoni.

    There are 30 suspects in the Via col Doping investigation, 10 are professional cyclists and five are doctors. Paolo Bonin, an amateur cyclist, delivered CERA in the Padova area and Priamo used to be in contact with him. Bonin would buy CERA at €350 a vial and sell it for €700, according to La Repubblica.

    Bonin approached Ballan when he visited friend and training partner Matteo Tosatto at his home in Riese Pio X.

    "I was ringing Tosatto's doorbell when Bonin came up and asked if I wanted CERA. I turned it down," said Ballan.

    Filippo Pozzato, professional and winner of the 2006 Milano-Sanremo, also testified as a witness. He said that he knew Bonin and met him during training.

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  • Horner ready for the Vuelta a España

    Chris Horner (Astana)
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 14:52 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Astana rider looks for success after injury-plagued season

    After an injury-plagued season and missing out on the Tour de France, Chris Horner is ready for the Vuelta a España, starting Saturday in Rotterdam, Holland. Horner crashed out of the Giro d'Italia in May, fracturing his left leg in a collision involving two other riders. It was the second serious injury for Horner this year after he fractured his collarbone and a rib in the Tour of the Basque Country in April.

    "I took two weeks completely off the bike to let my broken leg heal. I did one week easy after that, and then headed to Aspen to start training with Lance [Armstrong] and Levi [Leipheimer]. I built up from there, and was 100 percent in the week leading up the Tour de France. Basically, I just really paid attention to what my body was telling me and used that as my guide for training," Horner told Cyclingnews.

    However, Astana's Horner missed out on a place in the team's Tour de France line-up, despite training under the impression that he was preparing for the race. "After not making the Tour team, I began planning on the Vuelta and then extending my season with the late classics, since my mid-season was pretty light," Horner said. "I'm hoping to have a solid ride at the Vuelta. [I'm] going for a good overall result and/or stage wins."

    Horner recently raced the Tour de l'Ain where he led the race heading into the final stage before succumbing to a barrage of attacks from Cofidis and losing the leader's jersey to Rein Taaramae. Despite that setback, Horner is looking forward to ending his season on a strong note, adding that he's more than willing to work for Alexander Vinokourov, an ex-Astana rider, who may start the race.

    "My fitness is coming along. I had a few races recently to use as tune-ups for the Vuelta, and things are going pretty well," Horner said. "I'm happy to do my job for the team, and if that includes Vino, and he is our team leader, then I am happy to work for him."