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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 11, 2010

Date published:
January 11, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Murcia-Contentpolis set sights on 2011 return

    The Contentpolis-Murcia team
    Article published:
    January 10, 2010, 17:19 GMT
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Spanish squad to focus on development, management continue search for new sponsor

    Despite a valiant fight to remain in the upper-levels of professional cycling in 2010, Murcia-Contentpolis squad have decided to cut their losses and aim for a return to the top in 2011.

    Last month, co-sponsor AMPO departed the squad in favour of support for ProTour team Footon-Servetto, a decision that left no margin for Contentpolis to find a last-minute substitute.

    However, with support pledged by the Government of the Murcia and the Municipality of Murcia, the team's managers have already begun plan for a return next year that includes what they hope will be a minimum three-year deal with a new major sponsor.

    While its management, still led by Jose Antonio Ortuño, seek to secure the team's financial future, Murcia-Contentpolis' competitive elements will meanwhile focus on the development of athletes in the elite amateur, under-23 and junior categories.

    Iñaki Urroz will retain his position as directeur sportif and will direct a squad that includes Oscar García-Casarubios, Rafael Serrano, Sergio Domínguez, Jesús Buendía, Javier Chacon, Ivan Martinez, Salvador Guardiola, Antonio Garcia, Jose A. Alcaraz and Peter J. Fructuoso.

    The team will compete in a number of events in the Portuguese and Spanish domestic race calendars.

    Despite a return to the drawing board for 2010, the team will have a clear vision of level to which they hope to return. The 2009 season, only their second as a professional team, had included six professional wins and a Grand Tour appearance at the Vuelta a España. Active throughout their home Tour, the team achieved a creditable 15th place overall through Manuel Vazquez.

  • Footon-Servetto rolls out 2010 kit

    The two Swiss riders of Footon-Servetto-Fuji, David Vitoria and Noé Gianetti (l-r), join Mauro Gianetti for a picture.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2010, 20:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team is presented in Hoznayo, Spain

    The Spanish ProTour squad Footon-Servetto-Fuji rolled out its new kit and its 2010 squad at the Villa Pasiega in Hoznayo, Spain on Sunday.

    Vuelta a España’s emcee Juan Mari Guajardo’s began the ceremony with a short film depicting a fictional chase scene in which burglars try to steal a valuable package, but are out-paced by world Rally Champion runner-up Dani Sordo's skilled driving. The film ended with the truck pulling up to the hotel, and then fiction became "reality" as the riders in black capes go to the truck to rescue the goods - the team's Fuji SST 1.0 racing bikes.

    Removing their black capes, the riders revealed the team's new kit, designed by Dario Urzay, in gold with black logos.

    Sponsors AMPO (Jon Aguirre, Chairman), Fuji (Karen Bliss, Marketing director) and, representing the Cantabria Infinita brand, and Culture, Tourism and Sports councilor of the Government of Cantabria, Francisco Javier López Marcano, joined the team before it embarks to Argentina and Australia, the first stops in Footon-Servetto-Fuji's 2010 racing season.

  • Team Jayco Skins launched

    The future of Australian cycling? The Australian Institute of Sport program has produced some of Australia's top riders.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2010, 22:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Continental squad names 2010 roster

    Team Jayco Skins was formally presented at a function in Ballarat over the weekend, coinciding with a brilliant performance by the team at the Scody Australian Open Road Championships. The Continental outfit, formerly known as, was dominant in last week’s Under 23 races with it taking out all three medal winning positions in both the time trial and road race.

    Cycling Australia’s National Performance Director Shayne Bannan said he is looking forward to the successful program’s continuation. “Our High Performance Programs have been key to the success of Australian cycling as demonstrated by the calibre of our graduates who include Michael Rogers, Matthew Lloyd, Cameron Meyer, Wes Sulzberger and more recently Jack Bobridge and Leigh Howard,” said Bannan. “The support of Jayco and Skins will help us step up to the next level to ensure we remain one of the world’s leading cycling nations.

    “This support is crucial in our bid for success at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the Olympic Games in London in 2012,” Bannan added.

    The team will again compete in Australia and internationally in events in Asia, Europe and North America at races such as the Tour of Langkawi. Rohan Dennis got the team’s year off to a strong start by claiming the Australia Under 23 time trial championship last Wednesday, followed by Michael Hepburn’s road race win on Saturday ahead of the team’s launch that evening.

    “We are excited to be working with Cycling Australia to promote our local talent on the world stage,” said Skins’ Benjamin Fitzmaurice.

    The team integrates the current Cycling Australia/Australian Institute of Sport U23 road development program, with Australia’s track endurance riders.

    Team Jayco Skins 2010 team roster: Nick Aitken (VIC), Alex Carver (NSW), Rohan Dennis (SA), Aaron...

  • Davis dares to dream of a double?

    Brothers Scott and Allan Davis showed off their new team kit for the first time since announcing their move to Astana last week.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2010, 4:45 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Defending Tour Down Under champion takes aim at a second title

    After arriving in Adelaide, Australia, earlier today, defending Santos Tour Down Under champion Allan Davis believes that 2008 champion André Greipel will be the biggest obstacle - metaphorically speaking - between himself and another Down Under title.

    The big German sprinter dominated the race in 2008, winning four stages en route to the overall title. Last year he suffered bad luck and crashed out on stage three, having won the opening day's stage to Mawson Lakes but losing out to Davis on stage two in Stirling.

    Davis' win on the uphill finish in the picturesque Adelaide Hills town exemplified his strength and the Queenslander said that his proven ability to overcome testing climbs ahead of sprint finishes is an advantage "on paper" but admitted that Greipel is "in pretty good shape" ahead of the 2010 edition.

    "He's on par, if not fitter than me," Davis told Cyclingnews. "On a flat finish he's got the edge over me - he's a lot punchier in a sprint than me whereas I prefer it a little more uphill if I can.

    "I think he's a favourite, for sure," added Davis. "He seems to come out here in super form. It's a credit to him that he gets himself in that condition."

    Davis admitted that it's not all about Columbia-HTC's sprinter - there are threats from other quarters, some of which are a little closer to home. "There are a couple of other guys; I think Cookie [Baden Cooke] will go well this year," explained Davis.

    "He's looking lean, he can sprint and he can climb; he can get bonus seconds in the sprint and if he gets over the Willunga climb okay he'll be up there for sure. I think he's a real favourite as well."

    Davis added, "A lot of people will be looking at Stuey... he might have thought he could slip under the radar," and played down the fact that the 2007 Paris-Roubaix champion has been sick of late.

    "I've seen him do amazing things before [after having been ill] - you can't discount...

  • 2009 Reader Poll: Legendary Lance Armstrong

    Lance Armstrong at the Tour Down Under in January, 2009.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2010, 10:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    You voted Armstrong your legend of the year

    Lance Armstrong has been voted the 2009 Legend of the Year. The seven-time Tour de France winner defied the odds to come back after a three-year layoff to finish third in the Tour de France.

    It was the fourth Legend title for the now 38-year-old American. Cyclingnews readers previously voted him to the top in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
    Armstrong brought in 9012 votes, with the late Frank Vandenbroucke receiving 1524 votes. Third was American Kristin Armstrong, with 1230 votes.

    In January 2009 Armstrong returned to professional racing for the first time since July 2005. He opened the season with highly publicised appearances in the Tour Down Under and the Tour of California.

    His stated goal for returning after so much time was to raise awareness of cancer, and while Armstrong was riding well enough in the early part of the season, things nearly derailed when he broke a collarbone at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon at the end of March.

    But Armstrong lived up to his reputation as a fighter and came back to ride his first Giro d'Italia. He struggled in the mountain stages and didn't do as well as expected in the time trials, but still finished a more than respectable 12th overall. However, during the race the American refused to talk to the media on several occasions.

    His plans for another Tour win came to nothing, with teammate Alberto Contador winning in imperious fashion.

    Once again, Armstrong showed weaknesses in both the mountains and the time trials, his two previous specialities. But despite this, he was able to put in an impressive performance which saw him reach the third step of the podium in Paris.

    Armstrong also came back to cycling vowing to show transparency. He initially teamed up with Don Catlin but the partnership never took off and Armstrong agreed to post his blood values online. However these were later removed.

    Second-placed Vandenbroucke passed away in October, after a...

  • Reus looking forward to a full season at top level

    Kai Reus (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2010, 11:08 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank rider fully recovered from 2007 training crash

    Kai Reus heads into the 2010 season fully recovered from his training crash two and a half years ago, and with the confidence gained from his first professional win at the end of last season.

    The Rabobank rider crashed while training in July 2007. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered head injuries serious enough to place him in an induced coma for 12 days.

    He rode with the Rabobank Continental Team in 2008 before returning to the ProTour team in 2009. The 24-year-old rode a full season, starting with the Tour Down Under.

    By that time he was physically recovered, but still working on the psychological aspects of his crash. Things finally gelled in the spring. “Body and mind became one again. In late May last year it all came together,” he told the Dutch broadcaster NOS.

    Reus crowned his comeback year with his first professional win, taking the second stage of the Tour of Britain, hanging on as the sole survivor of an escape group to beat the peloton across the finish line by 15 seconds. That gave him the leader's jersey, which he held on to for two days. In the end, he just missed the podium, finishing fourth overall.

    This year he’s full of confidence. “I am sure. The team is sure,” he said. “I will mostly ride stage races this spring. I am incredibly looking forward to it.”

    The young Dutchman realised just how lucky he had been after his teammate Pedro Horrillo announced his retirement, saying he was unable to continue at a top level after his horrific crash in the Giro d'Italia. “I recognised much of myself in Pedro's story,” Reus said.

    “When I heard that he must stop, then I realise how much good luck I had.”


  • Rock Racing riders confused by lack of Professional Continental licence

    Rock Racing sets tempo during the 2009 Tour of Utah.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2010, 13:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Still no comments from UCI or team management

    Team Rock Racing will be riding at the Continental level again in 2010, having been refused a Professional Continental licence by the International Cycling Union (UCI). At least one rider claims not to know or understand why its application for the higher class was refused.

    The UCI did not comment on the grounds for the decision last week, with the official statement simply stating that the "the Management Committee rejected the registration of the US team Rock Racing." Nor has team owner Michael Ball or anyone else from the team management commented on the matter.

    Jose Enrique Gutierrez, who joined the US-based team last season, told the French website, "I am very disappointed. As a team we were all very excited by moving up."

    Ball "was doing everything possible. I can not say more because the UCI has given no explanation. We do not know what their decision is based on."

    Other riders refused to comment, the website noted. They "confided their fears" in light of a lack of comment from the team management, but hoped nevertheless to continue riding this season.

    Rock Racing brought in 10 victories last season, including the first stage of the Tour of California. It went through a number of changes over the year, hiring controversial sport director Rudy Pevenage, and releasing several riders for financial reasons. Several riders were shuffled back and forth between the pro team and the amateur squad.

    Apart from financial problems, the biggest blow for the team came when 2008 US champion Tyler Hamilton tested positive for the banned steroid DHEA. He was given an 8-year suspension, as it was his second positive test, and chose to retire.

  • Tour de France honours Merckx with Belgian stages in 2010

    Belgian cycling champion Eddy Merckx, Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme and Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans (l-r) at the presentation of the Brussels region itinerary for the 2010 Tour de France.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2010, 15:47 GMT
    Cycling News

    Merckx hopes for Belgian stage win as birthday present

    The Tour de France will pay tribute to five-time Tour winner Eddy Merckx this summer, with its two stages in Belgium. Stage one will go through his current hometown of Meise and the second stage will pass through his childhood home of Tervuren.

    Christian Prudhomme, of the organising Amaury Sport Organisation, presented the two stages, to be held July 4 and 5, in Brussels on Monday.

    "We really wanted to pay tribute to Eddy, who is celebrating his 65th birthday, hence the desire to go to Brussels," he said. "It is rare when the Tour de France asks a city to host a stage, and not the other way around."

    Merckx, who turns 65 on June 17, won the Tour in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974. he also took the points jersey in 1969, 1971 and 1972, and the mountain ranking in 1969 and 1970. In addition, he had 34 Tour stage wins.

    The Tour will open with a prologue in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on Saturday, July 3. On Sunday, July 4, the first stage will run 224 km from Rotterdam to Brussels. It will pass by Merckx' hometown of Meise, and finishes in front of the King Badouin Stadium. The finale is tailor-made for a mass sprint, as it features a 1600-metre straight run-in to the finish.

    The second stage on Monday, July 5, will start at the Royal Palace, home of King Albert, and run through the city's European Quarter on its way to Tervuren, where Merckx grew up. The stage will end after 192km in Spa.

    "The organisers and the City of Brussels are giving me a great honour in passing by my home of Meise," Merckx said Monday at the presentation. "Brussels is my heart, my country. I feel like a true citizen of Brussels. Although I've never lived in the heart of Brussels, but always nearby.

    "In Brussels itself, I never won a Tour stage," he continued, "but in the 1969 Tour, I took over the yellow jersey after a team time trial there."

    "If I must be honest, the best birthday gift would be a Belgian stage...