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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 13, 2010

Date published:
December 13, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Sergeant admits missing Qatar and Oman would be a blow for Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto
    Article published:
    December 12, 2010, 11:45 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Gilbert to race in Mallorca and Algarve

    Omega Pharma-Lotto manager Marc Sergeant has admitted that his team’s early season preparations have been dealt a blow by not being invited to the Tour of Oman, which takes place from February 15-20.

    The race organisers announced their list of 16 invitees on Thursday, which was made up of 11 ProTeams and 5 Professional Continental squads but did not include Omega Pharma-Lotto. The teams to be invited to the Tour of Qatar (February 6-11) are due to be unveiled shortly and Sergeant is concerned that his squad may miss out again.

    “Not riding Qatar and Oman would be a big problem because we have already established our programme and now it is without doubt too late to find an alternative,” Sergeant told La Dernière Heure. “We do still have some hope as the selection isn’t completely definitive.”

    One rider on the Omega Pharma-Lotto line-up who will be unaffected by the team’s failure to land a place in Oman is Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian rode the Tour of Oman in 2010, but La Dernière Heure reports that this time around Gilbert had already opted to begin his build-up to the classics at the Tour of Mallorca and the Volta ao Algarve rather than in the Middle East.



  • Tears of joy as Team Spidertech gains Pro Continental status

    The SpiderTech team chased the breakaway hard.
    Article published:
    December 12, 2010, 21:32 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    First Canadian registered team to hit such heights

    Tears were shed when Team Spidertech found out that it would be racing at the Pro Continental level in 2011. The team had been racing in the Continental ranks this season but was awarded its new status by the UCI Licence Commission last Friday.

    The team is currently having its first get-together just outside Toronto, Canada, and was informed by managers Steve Bauer and Josée Larocque.

    “Tears were shed it was an emotional time,” said rider Lucas Euser.

    “This is a real team and everyone is close here, and I can't speak highly enough about how Steve Bauer and Josée have worked. It’s more than just a team. It’s about Canadian cycling and making a future for cyclists in this country.”

    The team was in a series of meetings when the UCI communication was released, and the managers kept the news from the riders until the meetings had concluded, sparking scenes of celebration.

    Team Spidertech is Canada’s first ever Pro Continental team and has aspirations of performing on the world’s biggest stage at races like the Tour de France. They have nurtured home-grown talent while taking small but important steps over the last 12 months.

    “Everyone is ecstatic,” Euser told Cyclingnews.

    “I don't want to be clichéd here, but it was a 100-percent team effort, and I don’t mean that lightly. Steve Bauer and Josée were the two leaders, and they put in a load of work and that trickled down to everyone else, and I think we all did our parts.

    “We didn’t give up and they went to each round. Steve and Josée flew to Switzerland and sat in front of the UCI License Commission and stated their case. I think the UCI saw us as legitimate team to be racing in the Pro Continental.”

    The news means that Spidertech will race an improved but tougher race programme in 2011. The team is looking to base...

  • Van Kasteren has first refusal on Stybar's future

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2010, 22:37 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Lefevere confident but refuses to disclose fee

    The future of cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar is still unclear after Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews that the Czech’s current team has first refusal on his contract.

    Telenet-Fidea team manager Hans Van Kasteren recently told the Belgian media that Lefevere had offered Stybar a reputed 500,000 euro contract. However Lefevere told Cyclingnews that the figure was private and that the ball was firmly in Van Kasteren’s court.

    “I made a proposal, but his team has first refusal on it so nothing has been completed,” Lefevere told Cyclingnews.

    “I never speak about numbers. If others out there want to talk about numbers that’s up to them, but it’s not my style.”

    Stybar’s existing contract runs out at the end of this year, meaning that the Czech has but a matter of weeks to finalise his future, while Lefevere’s interest is far more long term. According to the wily team boss, Stybar could ride road, cross and even mountain bike at the London 2012 Olympics.

    “Cyclo-cross is huge in Belgium and a lot of sponsors that I have are Flemish. There’s a lot of coverage in the press and on television. He also wants to do the Olympic mountain bike race, and he wanted to try racing on the road, too. We can give him that chance and give him a shot in shorter stage races,” Lefevere said.

    Stybar’s possible move to Quick Step comes after Lefevere secured a major Czech investor. Lefevere ensured the team’s future for at least another two years, as billionaires Zdenĕk Bakala and Bessel Kok purchased a majority share in the team's management company. The team initially looked into both Peter Sagan and Roman Kruezinger as possible recruits before targeting Stybar.

    Lefevere is adamant that the financial investment secured has been a double edged sword. Last week RadioShack attempted to broker a deal for their...

  • Pegasus Sports owner pulls plug on team

    Interviews get under way.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 0:35 GMT
    Les Clarke

    White left with few current options to continue

    It appears that Pegasus Sports may fail to even exist in 2011, let alone become a Professional Continental team.

    Cyclingnews received information that team manager Chris White had indicated that financial support for the squad has ceased due to the majority owner of the squad withdrawing support.

    White went on to advise of the uncertainty which now surrounds the future of Pegasus Sports.

    Speculation has been rife in recent days that the team's potential commercial backer - which had yet to be announced - withdrew its support, leaving White without a headline sponsor for the 2011 season.

    It now seems that financial problems are at the root of the team's troubles; whilst White has constantly denied that this is the case, information garnered by Cyclingnews indicates that he faces a mammoth task simply constructing a squad with any backing for 2011.

    Cyclingnews also confirmed that the team will not receive a Professional Continental licence, although an extension has been granted until midway through this week. Six riders are now seeking alternative arrangements after the team was denied a licence by the UCI.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for more on the troubles plaguing Pegasus Sports.

  • Time for a change for Danny Pate

    - Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 5:51 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Switch from Garmin to HTC brings new opportunities

    After five seasons with the team run by Jonathan Vaughters, Danny Pate made a surprise switch by going across to Garmin's rivals, HTC-Highroad. The American said he has no regrets about his time with Garmin but that it was time for a change.

    I had a lot of good experiences [with Garmin] and I've grown as a rider," Pate told Cyclingnews at the recent HTC-Highroad camp in Northern California. "I've gone through so many years there, I've also grown as a person over that time. All the experiences you pass through over that time shapes who you are. I don't ever regret being there, but I felt like I needed different scenery, different people around me."

    After two years of racing the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France plus Paris-Nice leading up to them, and following his 2009 break-through result with third overall in the Critérium International, Pate's start to the 2010 season was vastly different. After beginning the year working for sprinter Tyler Farrar at the Tours of Qatar and Oman, Pate returned for a disappointing Critérium International before being plunged into the Classics: Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne.

    "That was one of my reasons for changing; some of it was on my side, some of it was on the people working with me," Pate said, adding that not being put in the races he felt he was best suited for was unmotivating. "Some of the forethought of where I should be or what I was doing wasn't there, so I didn't end up at some of the races I thought I should have been at."

    It wasn't just being left off all of the Grand Tour teams that led to the decision, he explained. "It was the whole thought process in general with my schedule and the way I was dealt with. I don't think a lot of it was personal. I think sometimes relationships change... people and organisations grow apart and it really just wasn't working for me anymore. I needed a change."

    Different colours, similar...

  • Sassi loses fight to cancer

    Aldo Sassi and Riccardo Riccò (Vacansoleil).
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 8:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brain tumour claims 51-year-old Italian coach

    Aldo Sassi has died of cancer at age 51. The Italian lost his battle against a brain tumour overnight.

    Sassi had announced in April that he was suffering from the life-threatening tumour and had undergone brain surgery and chemotherapy.

    He continued to work as a coach at the Mapei Centre, training such riders as Cadel Evans, Ivan Basso and Riccardo Ricco.

    Sassi was a sports doctor and a former general manager of the Mapei team- He created the Mapei coaching and testing centre in Castellanza, and was always known for his anti-doping stance.

    Sassi had most recently been working with Riccardo Ricco, who has recently returned from a twenty-month doping ban. He was eager to take on the controversial Italian, calling him “the best climber out there,” but who had been “surrounded by people who don't advise him well.”

    Ricco, now riding for Vacansoleil, had already undergone the first tests at the Mapei Centre.

    Basso is another who trained with Sassi upon his return from a doping-related suspension. Basso, of Team Liquigas, won this year's Giro d'Italia.

    Sassi was not afraid to take on such riders, and said that he would guarantee this his riders were clean. He denied comments from Italian anti-doping investigator Ettore Torri, who said that doping was pervasive in the peloton.

    "Torri maintains that nobody is clean, but I say that’s not true,” Sassi explained. “It’s for this reason that I continue to work in cycling. You can ride and win a Giro even without doping.”

    Upon learning of the news, Basso tweeted, “Goodbye, Aldo. Your friendship and love will always be in my heart.”

    Michael Rogers, another client, tweeted, “RIP Aldo. Thank you for everything you gave and taught me!”

    Charles Wegelius said simply, "Goodbye Aldo, I will miss you."

    "Today I lost a piece of my heart,” said Mapei...

  • Pegasus admits losing sponsor, denies team has folded

    Chris White and Henk Vogels.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 9:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    White still hopes to line up financial backing

    Chris White of Pegasus Sports has confirmed that he has lost his main financial backer but denied that his team has folded. The International Cycling Union has given him an extension to apply for a licence for the 2011 season.

    Cyclingnews reported on Sunday that the main commercial sponsor had withdrawn its support, and that the team would not receive a Professional Continental licence for the coming year. The team had originally hoped for a ProTeam licence.

    "Pegasus Sports was notified by its principal financial backer that financial support for the Pegasus Sports Professional Cycling project had been retracted,” White said in a press release issued on Sunday. The team therefore did not receive the expected licence from the UCI on Friday.

    "The UCI Licensing Commission has granted the Pegasus Sports licence application an extension until Wednesday, December 15, 2010.”

    The press release further stated that the team “is currently working with a number of parties to secure the necessary funding to guarantee the project's future and ensure the UCI's requirements for a Professional Continental license are met in accordance with the UCI's revised timeline.”

    White admitted to that the situation “is very serious”, but was optimistic that “we think we can get the process completed.”

    He only learned last Tuesday that his sponsor was withdrawing. “I didn’t have enough time to deal with that situation and adequately complete the process with the UCI, so at the last minute, I had to apply for an extension in time. And I wouldn’t have applied for that extension, had I thought we [did not] have a chance of replacing that funding.”

    Earlier this weekend, sources told Cyclingnews that at least six riders have started looking to other teams for a possible contract.

    "Doesn’t surprise me,” White...

  • Luxembourg team to be called Team Leopard

    Jakob Fuglsang (Team Saxo Bank) shows off his medal and jersey.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 10:11 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Fuglsang and Schlecks gather for first team camp

    After three successful seasons with Saxo Bank Jakob Fuglsang is looking forward to riding for his new team in 2011. The Dane recently attended the team’s inaugural training camp in Switzerland where staff and riders had the chance spend several days together.

    Fuglsang told Cyclingnews that The Luxembourg Cycling Project will race under the Team Leopard name in 2011, with the brand on the centre of the team’s jersey.

    Fuglsang had a sneak preview on the jersey kit at a recent training camp in Switzerland and was impressed with the design.

    "I saw a picture of what it could look like. You can expect something cool and simple, a classic look. From what we saw it has the Leopard logo on it and it’s well done. Leopard is the name on the centre of the jersey. It’s called Team Leopard. That’s what it’s going to be to begin with, and that’s how it looks for the moment,” Fuglsang told Cyclingnews.

    Leopard refers to the management company run by Bryan Nygaard, who has assembled the team. The team, which has signed both Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara, have been awarded a ProTeam license for four years and are ranked as the number one squad in the world.

    Their recent training camp was the first opportunity for all of the riders to meet each other and despite the lion-share signing from Saxo Bank, Fuglsang believes the entire team gelled.

    "It was new for all of us. The guys from Saxo, we know each other but we know most of the guys from other teams and it’s really good atmosphere with everyone together. The managers have really brought in some nice guys both in terms of riders and staff. They’ve worked really hard on making that happen and getting the mix right,” he told Cyclingnews.

    "After just the first night it was like we’d been on the same team for years.”

    Fuglsang rode for Bjarne Riis’s team...