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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, December 6, 2010

Date published:
December 06, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Eight cyclists killed in accident in Italy

    The scene of the accident in southern Italy where eight cyclists on a training ride were killed by a motorist.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2010, 18:26 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Driver believed to have been under the influence of marijuana

    Eight cyclists have been killed in an accident in Calabria in southern Italy after a speeding car crashed into a group of riders on Sunday morning. The incident took place near Lamezia Terme and the driver has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter.

    La Repubblica has named the driver of the car as Chafik Elketani, a 21-year-old of Moroccan origin. He is reported to have been under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash. He was also driving without a licence, as he was serving a six-month suspension for dangerous driving.

    It is understood that Elketani emerged without serious injury from the crash. His eight-year-old nephew, who was a passenger in the car, was also not seriously injured.

    The eight riders were part of an amateur group linked to the “Atlas” gym in Lamezia Terme. The group had been in activity for five years.

    The deceased riders were Fortunato Bernardi, Rosario Perri (55), Francesco Stranges (51), Vinicio Pottin (47), Giovanni Cannizzaro (58), Pasquale De Luca (35) and Domenico Palazzo.

    Silvio Rocca of the White Cross was one of the first people to reach the scene of the accident. “We were alerted to an accident in which only one cyclist was involved, according to the first information we had,” Rocca said. “When we reached the scene, however, we saw that we were talking about a massacre. They were all people we knew personally which made it even more painful.”

    The mayor of Lamezia Terme, Gianni Speranza, has declared a state of mourning in the town, which Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco has also expressed his condolences to the families and friends of the deceased cyclists.


  • Vande Velde: Giving it everything in final two years

    Christian Vande Velde at Garmin-Cervélo's camp in the Caymans.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2010, 19:29 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Garmin-Cervelo leader to skip Giro for Amgen Tour of California in Tour de France build-up

    As the first gathering of Garmin-Cervélo's 2011 squad wrapped up this weekend in the Caymans, it proved to be the ideal culmination of Christian Vande Velde's road to recovery following a season plagued with injury. Vande Velde suffered early exits from both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France due to broken bones, yet managed to put the dark days behind him with a rejuvenating performance at the Vuelta a Espana, a race he started low on form and with four cracked ribs.

    Vande Velde concluded his season at the road world championships in Australia and the 34-year-old Chicago native found the perfect tonic for recovery was complete rest at home.

    "I didn't do anything for almost five weeks and that's the longest break I've ever had in my entire life. I really needed to let myself completely relax, heal psychologically and physically," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews. "I have a new house and enjoyed being back in Chicago. I had an amazing fall.

    "Since then I've been getting myself back together on the gym, on the bike, mountain biking quite a bit, getting to know some of the new teammates and sponsors for next year. It's too fast as usual, you look at your watch and it's December already and it's pretty daunting to see that. You always want that extra two weeks, but it's not there."

    As was the consensus among all the Garmin-Cervélo riders and staff of the week-long camp at The Reef resort on Grand Cayman, it was a perfect way to bring together a team returning 18 riders and adding 11 new ones.

    "It's always important to come together and be away from the bike and talk about things that don't relate to cycling. It's not about your programme, it's girlfriend, wife, kids, family - everything that you enjoy doing apart from cycling, whether it's shooting guns at kangaroos, or stuff like that," said Vande Velde with a laugh.

    "I never thought that volleyball would be fun, but it was hysterical. I was...

  • Bayern Rundfahrt introduces long course for five stage race

    Maxime Monfort (HTC - Columbia) tries to put as much time as possible into leader Robert Gesink (Rabobank).
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 9:10 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German race with stages over 200 km for first time ever

    The 2011 Bayern Rundfahrt will be one of the longest ever at 783 kilometres and will feature two stages over 200 km long for the first time. In addition the five-stage race will again feature an individual time trial in Friedberg.

    The race will open with one of the long stages, 223 km from Pfarrkirchen to Freystadt, making it the longest stage to date in the history of the race. Stage two is 206 km between Freystadt to Bad Gögging. The third stage runs from Bad Gögging to Aichach, followed by the time trial in Friedberg. The race closes with a final stage from there to Moosburg.

    The race runs at the same time as the Giro d'Italia, but has never suffered because of that. “There is enormous interest from the teams,” said organiser Ewald Strohmeier. “At this early point nine teams that will ride the Tour de France have already registered with us.”

    It will also benefit from the nearby Berlin Velothon, a new 1.1 ranked race to be held May 22. “For the teams, it will be even more worthwhile to make the trip to Germany now, because they can take in both the Bayern Rundfahrt as well as the ProRace in Berlin,” Strohmeier said.

    The race is traditionally one for the sprinters. Germans Jens Voigt and Michael Rich have both won the overall title three times. Last year's winner was Team HTC-Columbia's Maxime Monfort, who will ride for the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project in 2011.

    World time trial bronze medalist Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia, is looking forward again to the race and especially the time trial in Friedberg, where he won in 2009. “The Bayern Rundfahrt is naturally an absolute highlight n the calendar of all the German riders. The course might not look so hard on paper, but not only because of the length of the first two stages, I am sure that it won't be easy.”

  • Lasne appointed new head of LNDD

    Francoise Lasne
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 9:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    EPO test developer becomes director of French anti-doping lab

    Françoise Lasne, who co-developed the detection method for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO) in 2000, has been appointed new head of the French anti-doping laboratory LNDD of Châtenay-Malabry. The laboratory is directly affiliated with the French national anti-doping agency AFLD.

    Lasne has been a highly respected scientist in the anti-doping community since she co-developed the urine test for EPO ten years ago. She replaced the lab's former director Jacques de Ceaurriz, who passed away in January 2010.

    Lasne also played an important role in developing a detection method for EPO CERA, a third-generation EPO that made its way into the peloton in recent years. In July 2007, Lasne told the Cité des Sciences website that "at least three new forms of EPO have been identified. We are working with one of the pharmaceutical companies to be able to identify their molecules with our tests."

    The new director of the LNDD and testing director Jean-Pierre Verdy also provided information to federal investigators U.S. Food and Drug Administration on November 16 at Interpol in Lyon.

  • Saxo Bank names two Danes in Giro d'Italia squad

    The Saxo Bank team took responsibility for the chase.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 10:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Aaen facing Grand Tour debut, Christensen returning after six years

    Team Saxo Bank-SunGard will have at least two Danes at the Giro d'Italia in 2011. Jonas Aaen and Mads Christensen have already been assured of places on the squad in Italy next year.

    "I had hoped to ride the Giro, so I am ecstatic. I know that it will be hard but I am sure that I will become a better rider because of it,” Jonas Aaen told

    The 24-year-old just had his first ProTour year with the Danish team, having previously ridden for Danish Continental teams. This year he rode, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Critérium du Dauphine, and Circuit Franco-Belge.

    The Giro will be Aaen's Grand Tour debut, but it will be the second appearance for Christensen. The Giro was one of the few races he rode for Quick Step in 2005, Since that year he has ridden for Barloworld and for various Danish Continental teams. He won the bronze medal in the U23 World road championships in 2004.

    "On the whole I've got a bit of a dream programme, with the Ardennes Classics and Giro d'Italia, so I am really happy and I see it as a sign that Bjarne Riis has confidence in me,” Christensen said.

  • Hushovd, Cunego and Nibali enjoy a last night out

    The riders pose for a group photograph with the Miss Ciclismo contenders
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 10:36 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    A photo gallery from the A&J party in Italy

    With the Tour Down Under less than six weeks away, it is time to step up the training for the new season. But before things get serious, some riders enjoyed a final night out clubbing at the annual party organised by Italian agents Alex and Jonny Carera, Sprint magazine produced by Italian photographer Roberto Bettini and he Virtual Image advertising agency.

    Some of the professional riders arrived in a stretch limousine, with world champion Thor Hushovd the star of the show. He travelled directly from the first Garmin-Cervelo training camp in the Cayman Islands, swapping the sun and sand of the Caribbean for the cold of northern Italy.

    During the evening Gilberto Simoni got a special applause after retiring during the 2010 season.

    Also at the party were Vuelta Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali, Damiano Cunego, Diego Ullisse, Leonardo Bertagnolli and Francesco Chicchi. Franco Pellizotti was also at the party. He is still waiting to hear if the UCI will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the decision of the Italian anti-doping authorities to clear him of a Biological Passport violation.

    All the riders work with the Carera brothers, who represent a total of 80 athletes in cycling, skiing and motor racing.

    Some of the riders were party of the jury that selected the 2010 Miss Ciclismo, an annual beauty pageant.

  • Cameron Meyer named Australian cyclist of the year

    Australia's Cameron Meyer celebrates victory in the men's points race.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 10:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Evans takes best male road rider title

    Cameron Meyer was named Australian cyclist of the year as well as male track cyclist of the year. Richie Porte was voted people's choice cyclist of the year, and Cadel Evans and Rochelle Gilmore took the elite road cyclist titles. Anna Meares was named best female track rider, all in an awards ceremony held by Cycling Australia.

    Meyer, of Garmin-Transitions, started out the year by winning the national time trial title. He then won gold medals in the points race, team pursuit and madison at the world track championships. At the Commonwealth Games he took gold in team pursuit, points and scratch.

    Porte, of Saxo Bank, won the most public votes to win the People's Choice award. The 25-year-old wore the leader's jersey for three stages in his debut Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia, finishing seventh overall and winning the best young rider ranking.

    Evans, with BMC Racing Team, wore not only the world champion's rainbow jersey this season, but also the leaders' jerseys in both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, for one stage in each. He won a stage at the Giro in addition to the points jersey. Evans also won Fleche Wallonne and was fourth in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

    Gilmore, of the Lotto Ladies Team, won the Commonwealth Games road race as well as the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic. Meares won three gold medals n the track at the Games, for the 500m TT, team sprint and individual sprint.

  • Is Steegmans on his way back to Quick Step?

    Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) wasn't happy with his result.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2010, 14:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    UPDATED: RadioShack confirms Belgian may leave

    Gert Steegmans' return to Quick Step is expected to be announced soon, with the Tour de France stage winner coming back to the team after two years away.  His current team, RadioShack, has confirmed that he can leave, although he still has a contract which must be bought out.

    The 30-year-old Belgian turned pro with Lotto in 2003 and rode for Quick Step in 2007 and 2008. He then rode one year with Katusha before transferring to RadioShack in 2010.

    According to, Steegmans spent a lot of time with his agent Paul De Geyter and Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere at Saturday's charity cyclo-cross race, sponsored by Tom Boonen, with the deal evidently being struck at that time.

    Steegmans joined Katusha in 2009 but refused to sign the team's anti-doping agreement which called for, among other things, the repayment of five times the annual salary if a rider was found to have doped. The team refused to name him to its Tour de France squad and his contract was dissolved on August 5.

    The Belgian joined RadioShack this year, debuting for it at the Tour Down Under. He then broke a collarbone when he was literally blown off his bike in the Paris-Nice prologue. He had no wins in the 2010 season.

    The sprinter had his best successes in his two years at Quick Step, taking two stages in the Tour de France, Circuit Franco-Belge and Paris-Nice.

    He will face formidable competition at Quick Step; in addition to Tom Boonen, the team's new signings for 2011 include sprinters Francesco Chicchi, Gerald Ciolek and neo-pro Frederique Robert.

    RadioShack confirms Belgian may go

    "Gert may indeed leave,” RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens confirmed to “Why? Because he was not happy with us and we weren't really happy with him, either. Gert did not join us for the team training camp currently underway in Calpe.

    "But it is premature to...