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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 17, 2011

Date published:
January 17, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Christina Watches with 14 riders for 2011

    Michael Rasmussen poses with Danish watch designer Christina Hembo.
    Article published:
    January 16, 2011, 20:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rasmussen's team is all-Danish

    Christina Watches, the team built around Michael Rasmussen, has settled its squad for the 2011 season. It will have 14 riders, all Danish.

    The team claims to have its Continental licence from the International Cycling Union, although the team is not listed on the UCI site. The UCI lists, however, Team Bianchi-M1, whose licence the team is said to have bought.

    The last signing for the team was Rene Jørgensen, an experienced veteran who Rasmussen was happy to bring on board.

    “Rene Jørgensen is one of the best Danish riders over the last decade and he was therefore one of the ones I could quickly see the team needed," Rasmussen said, according to

    Jørgensen, 35, turned pro in 1998, and has ridden at every level of cycling. Since 2006 he has ridden for Continental-ranked Danish squads.

    Earlier, Rasmussen had said that they had received applications from up to 50 riders, including “names that have raced on the ProTour level or been on the podium in major races. He later said that “about 100 riders" have contacted the team.

    Christina Watches for 2011: Michael Rasmussen, Michael Reihs, Rene Jørgensen, Guytan Lilholt, Kristian Sobota, Marc Hester, Mads Moltke, Pelle Clap, Mads Hardal, Martin Lind, Daniel V. Andersen, Jesper Odgaard, Jacob Gye Madsen, Daniel Malmros

  • Fuglsang elaborates on move to Leopard Trek

    Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek) will ride for the Schlecks in the Tour de France
    Article published:
    January 16, 2011, 21:35 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Dane will balance support of Schlecks, own ambitions at Tour

    Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) has elaborated on the contractual disagreements between himself and Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team that lead to him signing for Leopard Trek.

    It was announced in the fall of 2009 that Fuglsang had signed a three-year contact with Riis's team. However, the press release was released prematurely with Fuglsang later claiming that no contract was ever signed.

    "The press release was done in October or November of 2009 and it said that I had signed a contact but at that moment I hadn't," Fuglsang told Cyclingnews. "In the end I didn't agree and then of course I had to let other teams know and the press know that I hadn't signed for three years."

    At the time that lead to several enquires from the likes of BMC, Sky, Garmin, RadioShack and Rabobank, but it was the invite from Leopard Trek that most attracted the Dane.

    "One of the problems with Riis' contract was over the salary and the way it was paid over the three years. I had a strong belief in myself that with another year I could make a better contract and that's one of the reasons.

    "I didn't see contracts from those other teams interested but salary was discussed. At the end of the day things moved fast with this team and they came up with a good offer for me and it was here that I wanted to go to the most. It was natural for me to want to sign."

    Fuglsang's ties with his current team directeur were another reason for joining Leopard Trek and he informed Riis of his decision well before last year's Tour de France, which he rode in the service of Riis and the Schlecks.

    According to the Dane, Riis began to spend less time at the head of affairs at Saxo Bank.

    "It was the same in the two years I was there but what I heard from other riders he was not there as much as he was in the previous years. That's of course, also, why some of the riders changed but at the end of the day I had all my contact with Kim so it was...

  • Schleck brothers rate likely Tour de France rivals

    Frank and Andy Schleck with their new Trek bikes
    Article published:
    January 16, 2011, 22:50 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Basso, Evans seen as biggest threats

    Fränk and Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) have both sounded out Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) as the main threat to Leopard Trek winning the Tour de France in its inaugural season.

    The two brothers are yet to win the Tour themselves but younger sibling Andy has finished second twice while Frank will line up as a contender in his own right this July.

    "I don't think we'll have big surprises, the Tour de France is too hard," Andy Schleck told Cyclingnews when he was asked to pinpoint the main GC riders.

    "I think that the main rival will be Ivan Basso. Denis Menchov and Cadel Evans will be there too," he said.

    Basso came back to the sport towards the end of 2008 after serving a two-year suspension for attempted blood doping. He placed in the top 10 in both the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta in 2009 but won the 2010 Giro.

    "He's going to be fit and concentrated," older brother Fränk told Cyclingnews.

    "He makes a lot of sacrifices and the way he trains, you just know he'll be a contender. He has to improve if he wants to win the Tour, though. Winning the Giro, and don't get me wrong he was very strong and did a good race, but there's a difference between winning the Giro and winning the Tour de France. The Tour is harder to win," he added.

    Andy Schleck also pointed to Cadel Evans (BMC) as a contender, who despite two consecutive bad results at the Tour, can still trouble any rider with a combination of grit, talent and consistency. The Australian, like Schleck, has finished second twice at the Tour, and claimed fifth at last year's Giro behind Basso. However, Schleck believes that the Australian has to limit the amount of targets he has in a single year if he is to get the better of his rivals in July.

    "You never know with Cadel. My personal opinion is that he does too many races at too high a level. It's great to see his spirit and he's never bad in any races but if he just...

  • Tour Down Under riders help with flood relief

    Allan Davis looked relaxed for the crit.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2011, 0:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Signed jerseys auctioned to aid disaster victims

    The 133 riders competing in the 2011 Santos Tour Down Under have come together to donate to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal, as sporting rivalry is pushed aside and all nationalities contribute to help those suffering from recent flooding in Queensland, Australia.

    All prize money won by individual riders at yesterday's Cancer Council Classic ($12,000 in total) was donated to the Flood Relief Appeal.

    Australian riders Simon Gerrans and Michael Rogers of Team Sky and Astana's Allan Davis have banded together to ensure every rider competing is happy to be on board.

    "We cannot sit back and do nothing, it is not the Aussie spirit, this is our way of helping," said Queensland native, Davis.

    Fellow Queenslander Robbie McEwen has already joined forces with his new RadioShack team mate Lance Armstrong to generate funds through their Twitter ride last Saturday.

    "People have been hard hit by this crisis and whatever small role we can play to help we will but we urge everyone to make a donation to the official Premier's Flood Relief Appeal," said McEwen.

    "It's important to all of us to feel like we can help make a difference as we see what is unfolding in our own country. Cyclists are a compassionate group and happy to chip in," said Simon Gerrans.

    In addition to the prize money donation, all 19 teams will donate a signed team jersey by every competing rider for auction on eBay.

    "Cycling fans have an opportunity to bid for a once in a life time piece of sporting memorabilia," said Davis.

    It's part of a partnership between pro riders and Cancer Council SA, the Santos Tour Down Under's official charity partner.

    "Cancer doesn't stop for the floods, but the Cancer Council can," says Professor Brenda Wilson, Chief Executive, Cancer Council SA.

    "That's why we're dedicating a day of collections by Ride for a reason volunteers during IG Markets Stage 2 of Santos Tour Down Under from Tailem...

  • Hosking hones sprint against Honda

    Chloe Hosking (HTC-HighRoad) with a lap to go.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2011, 0:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    HTC-Highroad rider opens up 2011 account in Adelaide

    For the first time the Cancer Council Classic enjoyed a curtain raiser in the form of the Rendition Homes/Santos Women's Cup and it was HTC-Highroad rider Chloe Hosking raising hell with a powerful sprint to outgun the Honda Dream Team.

    Competing on the same course as the ProTour riders would do later that day, Hosking prevailed in the sprint finish ahead of Rochelle Gilmore and local girl Annette Edmondson.

    "Honda was really setting up the sprint for Rochelle but there was some confusion and with different girls trying to get on different wheels I benefited from the situation," said Hosking after her win. "They were all concentrated on the frantic finishing manoeuvres on the right side of the road and I decided to hit them on the left.

    "It's a welcome sign of form after my week at the Jayco Bay Classic," she added. "It's definitely a good indication of what's in store in the lead up to the Tour of Qatar."

    Hosking rode her first season for HTC-Columbia in 2010, grabbing several wins and signing for another year. She took a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi behind compatriot Gilmore, who took the overall title at the aforementioned Jayco Bay Cycling Classic.

    "My sprint felt really strong - the training I have been doing recently has really helped in today's result, I think. There's been a focus on getting up to speed and keeping it there."

    The 20-year-old sprinter will head to next month's Tour of Qatar as HTC-Highroad's fast finisher, acknowledging that her latest win was a morale booster ahead of the men's race last night, which was eventually won by teammate Matt Goss. "It was nice surprise for the team when they realised that they had a member of the women's team racing - and winning!" she explained.

  • GreenEDGE heralds new era for cycling Down Under

    Shayne Bannan and Neil Stephens are proud to part of this project.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2011, 7:16 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Australian pro team aims for 2012 ProTour place

    Former director of Cycling Australia's High Performance Program, Shayne Bannan, today launched what he says will be Australia's first ProTour team in 2012.

    Announcing the advent of GreenEDGE Cycling, Bannan told reporters that the team is aiming for a place in the UCI ProTour in 12 month's time and will spend the rest of 2011 making roster preparations with riders out of contract at the end of the season ahead of its licence application later in the year.

    While it has been roughly 12 months in the making, the team has been kept under wraps for the last several months and today Bannan said that the squad would comprise up to 75 percent Australian riders on its roster while Neil Stephens will complete the Australian flavour as a directeur sportif.

    "Realistically, we have the depth to have 100 percent [Australian riders] - not just for one team, but maybe two teams on the World Tour," said Banna. "But 75 percent is a really good number, not forgeting that cycling is a very global sport and the various partners we have in the future could have interests in America, or China, or Germany... So we very much want to make it a global team and an international team as well.

    "I don't really think it's healthy to state that we want to be 100 percent Australian - I think that may cause a little bit of complacency," he added.

    Bannan explained that the team's operating budget will be in the vicinity of 10-16 million Euros, putting it amongst the top 10 teams in terms of UCI ProTeam selection criteria.

    "We're in discussion with the UCI about the process that has to be undertaken to achieve a ProTour licence," Bannan said, adding that relationships built with the likes of the recently-deceased Also Sassi and Giorgio Squinzi - the men behind the Mapei juggernaut of the mid 1990s - were instrumental in getting the project off the drawing board and into an open agenda.

    He cited the examples of Team Sky and...

  • Contador likely to face ban says UCI board member

    Alberto Contador strikes a pose for Procycling's Tour de France preview. A few months later he would win the Tour but test positive for Clenbuterol
    Article published:
    January 17, 2011, 9:29 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Dane Pedersen breaks UCI silence on outcome of Tour de France winner's case

    Saxo Bank-SunGard have criticized comments from a UCI executive who has suggested that Alberto Contador is likely to serve a ban for his positive test for clenbuterol during this year's Tour de France.

    Peder Pedersen, a member of both the UCI's executive and Anti-Doping committees, told a Danish television programme that he expects Contador to be ruled out of competition in light of the evidence against the Spanish rider.

    "The information we hold right now suggests that he has committed an offence that triggers a sentence of two years, so I do not think he will race the Tour de France this summer," said Pedersen on TV2 Fyn.

    Saxo Bank reacted to Pedersen's comment by saying that it is inappropriate to speculate on the outcome of the case when a judgement is yet to be handed down by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).

    "To be quite honest, I think it is an unfortunate comment to make at this time. The case is not closed and it remains with the Spanish cycling federation," Saxo Bank's Press Officer Anders Damgaard told

    "And as long as any decree is outstanding, we think the parties should refrain completely from commenting on it," Damgaard added.

    Since September, when news broke of his positive test for clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France, Contador has continued to maintain his innocence, arguing that the drug entered his system via tainted meat.

    Should Contador be found guilty, he faces a two-year ban from competition and the loss of his third Tour de France title, which he claimed ahead of Andy Schleck and Denis Menchov.

    Responsibility for a ruling in the case rests with the RFEC, who are yet to indicate when a decision might be made, despite widespread calls for a speedy conclusion to the matter.

    Pedersen is the first member of the UCI to express his opinion on the case. Up to now, the sport's governing body has refrained from commenting on the...

  • Soler a candidate for Tour de San Luis overall title

    Mauricio Soler (Movistar) in preparation for the Tour de San Luis.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2011, 9:57 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Queen stage six could solidify race lead

    Mauricio Soler’s (Movistar) notable climbing prowess makes him a likely candidate to win the overall title at the Tour de San Luis held from January 17-23 in San Luis, Argentina. The Colombian is confident in his ability to win the queen stage six that boasts two significant ascents through the Andres Mountain Range.

    “To win this race would be very good for me and for the team,” Soler said. “I don’t know if I have the condition to win it yet. It could be complicated because of the strong winds here but there are a few stages in the mountains and that suits me. Overall, I think this terrain is good for my team.”

    Soler is confident that his six-man team is capable of strong overall performances. The squad will start former stage winner Xavier Tondo, Carlos Oyarzun, Javier Iriarte, Pablo Lastras and Francisco Perez. Liquigas-Cannondale will be a likely threat to secure the overall title having won the event last year with Vincenzo Nibali. This year’s team includes two-time Giro d’Italia winner Ivan Basso. Androni-Giocattoli also has a serious contender in climber José Serpa, who placed second to Nibali last year.

    “If I look at all the teams here I think Liquigas is also strong,” Soler said. “Especially with a rider like Ivan Basso.”

    The Tour de San Luis will touch the Andes’ foothills on the second stage that finishes atop a five kilometre ascent in Mirador Del Potrero. The true climbing will begin on stage five with a mountaintop finish on the Mirador Del Sol. Stage six will play a major factor in the overall classification with two decisive climbs. The first ascent will take the peloton over Alto de Nogoli at the mid-point of the race and finish on the lengthy and steep climb to La Carolina.

    “I know that stage six will be very difficult,” Soler said. “It will be a place for attacks and for the race to open up. If I can...