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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 28, 2009

Date published:
December 28, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Zirbel announces positive for DHEA

    Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling)
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 2:03 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    B sample awaits

    Tom Zirbel has announced he tested positive in an anti-doping test conducted by the United States Anti Doping Association (USADA) following the US Pro time trial championships on August 29, 2009. The A-sample returned positive for an endogenous steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Zirbel awaits the response of the B sample.

    "I want to inform the cycling community that an 'A' sample of mine from a urine test conducted by USADA on Aug. 29, 2009 after the US Pro TT has tested positive for exogenous DHEA,” Zirbel said. “I have not yet received notification from USADA on the findings of the 'B' sample, but I expect to receive word any day now.”

    Zirbel, 30, was contracted with the US-based Bissell Pro Cycling team between 2007-09. He is widely recognized for his strength in the individual time trial having placed inside the top ten in three editions of the Tour of California individual time trial along with two second place finishes in the US Pro Time Trial Championships in 2008 and 2009.

    “The US Pro TT was a major objective of mine this season, but I would never compromise my integrity for any bike race,” Zirbel said. “At this point, I don't know how this happened but regardless of the outcome of my 'B' sample I intend to find out with the help of a few accomplished scientists and doctors who have selflessly helped me since I first was notified of the 'A' findings.”

    “With that in mind, I refuse to speculate about how this happened until we have solid scientific evidence. I hate that this situation could and will probably bring more negative attention to our sport, but I am confident that we will find answers and I will be cleared of any wrongdoing. In the meantime, I ask for your understanding and respect while I fight for my career and reputation during this personal matter.

    Zirbel was the winner of the 2009 National Race Calendar (NRC).

  • Luxembourg licence for Sørensen

    Chris Anker Sørensen (Team Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 9:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Denmark may no longer licence riders who live outside of the country

    Chris Anker Sørensen will be riding under a licence issued by the Luxembourg Cycling Federation in the coming season, after he  moved from Denmark to Luxembourg.,

    The young Dane intends to make his home there for several years, according to the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. He is closer to the team's service centre and the hilly terrain offers good training, as well as training partners Andy and Fränk Schleck, Lars Bak and Martin Mortensen.

    Sørensen had previously ridden under a Danish licence, as the Danish Cycling Union had for years issued licences to all riders of Danish nationality, no matter where there residence was. The International Cycling Union has put a stop to this, however. Under UCI regulations, riders must hold a licence from the country in which they have their legal residence, not their country of nationality.

    The 26-year-old, who is going into his fourth year with Saxo Bank, won the Japan Cup in October for his only victory of the year.

  • Landis on verge of signing for Rock Racing

    Floyd Landis (OUCH) has been spending time in the Utah mountains getting ready for this week.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 10:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contract depends on team getting Professional Continental licence

    Floyd Landis is on the verge of signing with Team Rock Racing, according to the French website, which cites sources close to team owner Michael Ball. Jonathan McCarty is also said to be expected to sign.

    The contracts is dependent on the team getting its Professional Continental licence from the International Cycling Union, with the licence announcement expected January 4.

    Rock Racing, founded in 2007, has been running under a Continental, or third-tier, licence. It was not known that they had applied for a Professional Continental licence for 2010 until they said they issued a statement after the UCI rejected their initial application.

    "We're obviously very disappointed but are working diligently to satisfy every requirement that is being asked of us. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure we can race next year," the team said in a statement issued earlier this month.

    Landis, 34, returned in January 2009 from a two-year suspension after testing positive for testosterone at the Tour de France. He returned to riding this year with team OUCH Presented by Maxxis.

    McCarty, 27, turned pro with US Postal Service in 2004. He rode for Phonak in 2006 and Garmin in 2007 and 2008, before joining OUCH this year.

  • Schleck fine after car collision

    Luxembourg's Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) smiles during the 2010 Tour de France presentation.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 14:16 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Bruised Schleck says car came off worse

    Andy Schleck was involved in a collision with a car on Saturday but came away with no more than bruising. The Tour de France podium finisher was training at home in Luxembourg after spending Christmas with his family. Schleck was out on his bike and en route to meet his older brother Fränk for a training ride.

    “It was cold and I had lots of clothing on to protect me,” Schleck told Cyclingnews. “That was a good thing in the end.

    “A car crossed in my path and pulled right across me. I couldn’t avoid the crash,” he added. “I didn’t have the speed on but I couldn’t avoid it.”

    Schleck estimated that he was travelling at roughly 35 kilometres per hour when the collision occurred. According to Schleck the car came off worse. “There was more damage on the car. His door was a wreck and so was his bumper,” he said. “The passenger window and the front window were smashed too.”

    Schleck saw a physiotherapist later in the day, confirming that while nothing was broken he could return to cycling on Monday.

    “I have a really good physio and she checked everything over,” added Schleck. “It’s just some bruises and tomorrow I’ll go out on my bike. It will hurt but that’s it.”

    Schleck will travel to Fuerteventura in January for Saxo Bank’s first team camp of 2010. He confirmed he would ride the Tour of California as preparation for next year’s Tour de France.

  • Barcelona looking to hold 2014 Tour de France start

    The stunning Barcelona architecture was unfortunately draped in a grey shroud of heavy rain.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 14:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish city in "very advanced negotiations" with ASO

    The 2014 Tour de France may start in Barcelona. The city council is said to have "very advanced negotiations" with Tour organiser ASO over the matter, according to the Spanish newspaper El Periodico.

    The newspaper said that the Tour generally starts outside of France every other year, with the start in 2010 being in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and in 2012 in Liege, Belgium. The 2013 start is said to be planned for Corsica, a French island near Italy.

    According to the newspaper, Barcelona would host a prologue and at least one more stage before the race moves back to France.

    This year's Tour de France went to Barcelona, with stage six, won by Cervelo's Thor Hushovd, ending there. Stage seven, which went on to a mountaintop finish in Andorre Arcalis, started in the Catalonian seaside capital.

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme recently confirmed to Cyclingnews that both Qatar and Tokyo are also interested in holding a start of the Tour at some undetermined point in the future.

  • Zirbel denies knowingly ingesting DHEA

    Tom Zirbel (Bissell) flew around the course today to come in with the best time.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 15:18 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Garmin-Transitions 2010 contract terminated

    Tom Zirbel has denied knowingly ingesting endogenous steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) after revealing earlier today he has tested positive for the banned substance. Zirbel could face a two-year suspension should his B sample correspond to the positive A sample.

    “I didn’t knowingly ingest any DHEA,” Zirbel said. “I’m ignorant about these things, I didn’t know what DHEA was until I was first notified about my A sample positive.”

    Zirbel’s A and B samples were both examined at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) at the University of Utah. The samples came from an anti-doping test conducted by the United States Anti Doping Association (USADA) following the US Pro time trial championships on August 29, 2009.

    “I found out about the A sample in November,” Zirbel said. “It was the nightmare that every person that does a lot of tests has, that one of them will come back positive. I went through the whole gambit of emotions in the first hour and half.”

    Zirbel hired Paul Scott to oversee the opening of the B sample, the results of which he’s still awaiting. Scott formerly worked with the World Anti Doping Agency-accredited lab in UCLA. He founded his own company, Scott Analytics, that offers an elite anti doping program, athlete passport program, event testing, supplements and other customised testing and consultations.

    “I accompanied, went to Utah to watch the opening and testing of the B sample,” said Zirbel. “I hired a guy, Paul Scott, to come with me, an expert in the field to make sure everything was done according to protocol and to make sure I had a hand in the matter. The lab was very professional and everything was fine. I have a chemistry back ground so I thought I could check things out as well.”

    Zirbel says he witnessed laboratory technicians conduct...

  • Evans to open European season in Switzerland

    World champion Cadel Evans will start his 2010 season at his home country's Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 17:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    World Champion headed for Lugano in February

    After opening his 2010 season in his home nation of Australia, road World Champion Cadel Evans is expected to kick off his European racing season in Switzerland and in February.

    The GP dell'Insubria-Lugano, a UCI category 1.1 event, scheduled for February 27, is on Evans' race calendar. Another UCI-sanctioned event of the same category, the GP di Lugano, happens the next day, on February 28.

    "I will take part in the Grand Prix Insubria and the Grand Prix of Lugano. Those will be my first races in Europe in 2010," said Evans, "and my first race of 2010 will be the official Tour Down Under, here in Australia." The Tour Down Under is set for January 19-24.

    Renzo Oldani, President of organizing company Cycling Alfredo Binda, was pleased with the news. "For a race as young as the Grand Prix Insubria, it is source of pride to be able to have the World Champion at the start."

    For the coming season, Evans will captain the BMC Racing Team

    The 2009 GP dell'Insubria-Lugano was won by Italian Francesco Ginanni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) and Frenchman Rémi Pauriol (Cofidis) won the 2009 GP di Lugano.

  • Acqua & Sapone signs Murilo Fischer for 2010

    Murilo Fischer (Liquigas) wins the 2009 Giro della Romagna.
    Article published:
    December 28, 2009, 17:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Brazilian remains in Italy for seventh pro season

    Brazil's Murilo Fischer has signed with Italian Pro Continental team Acqua & Sapone for 2010, according to Cyclismag. Fischer, often injured in 2009, did not have his contract renewed by Liquigas after spending three seasons with the Italian ProTour team. The 30-year-old Brazilian won two races during his tenure with Liquigas, the Giro della Romagna in 2009 and a stage of the Tour of Poland in 2007.

    Regarding the non-renewal of his contract with Liquigas, Fischer said, "Instead of being reassured, in the big teams you are treated like a race horse. When you start talking about a lot of money the human element is put aside and there remains only the professional side."

    Fischer, entering his seventh year as a professional, has spent his entire career racing for Italian teams. He turned pro in 2004 with Domina Vacanze, moved to Naturino-Sapore di Mare for 2005 and 2006 and spent 2007-2009 with Liquigas.

    Fischer's best season occurred in 2005 highlighted by wins in the Giro del Piemonte, GP Beghelli, Memorial Cimurri, GP Industria & Commercio di Prato, Trofeo Citta di Castelfidardo and stage wins at the Tour of Qinghai Lake and the UNIQA Classic. Fischer also finished fifth in the 2005 world road championships in Madrid, Spain won by Tom Boonen.