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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 23, 2012

Date published:
January 23, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • UniSA's Dave Sanders proud of team's Tour Down Under performances

    Rohan Dennis in the break re-hydrates
    Article published:
    January 22, 2012, 21:06 GMT
    Alex Hinds

    Clarke, Dennis lead an outstanding 2012 race for national team

    With a rider fifth on the Santos Tour Down Under general classification, the King of the Mountain crown, and a gutsy solo stage victory on stage 2 to Stirling, UniSA-Australia's class of 2012 have set the bar high.

    Rohan Dennis and Will Clarke's performances stand-out, but with a presence in all but one escape of the six stage event, the team can pat themselves on the back for a job well done, firmly showing that UniSA-Australia deserved to be at the Tour Down Under alongside the WorldTour's best.

    "I’m really proud of the lads, they’ve all done a great job," reflected team manager Dave Sanders.

    And although Sanders is more than happy with the results, such was the belief he had in the team after stage 4 to Tanunda - so impressed was he with how Rohan Dennis and Bernard Sulzberger were travelling - that he shifted the team goals for the race to make them a little more ambitious.

    "A few days ago it was going to be about the KOM, or the team’s classification. But with Rohan going so well we went into the Willunga stage with the absolute belief that we could win the whole race."

    The fairytale didn't quite transpire - Suzlberger flatted just before the final time up Willunga ending his overall chances, and although Dennis left it all on the road, Gerrans and Valverde were just a little stronger on the day. The rides of the whole team however were impressive, making their presence known on a day when more than a few of the WorldTour teams were anonymous.

    "It was a tragedy for Bernie," said Sanders. "He’s had a bit of bad luck the past couple of years, and it was a big chance for him, he could’ve been top ten or even better.

    "But Rohan showed again what a talent he is. I think he...

  • Gerrans targets Ardennes Classics after Tour Down Under victory

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) was delighted with his win.
    Article published:
    January 22, 2012, 21:45 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    March, April next big goals for GreenEdge

    Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) claimed the second WorldTour victory of his career on Sunday at the Tour Down Under, and now will target the Ardennes Classics in April.

    Gerrans has a solid history at the races in Belgium and Holland, finishing third at Amstel Gold last year and also boasting top 10 finishes at Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2009.

    Converting those results into a win would see Gerrans again enter the record books as only the third Australian to achieve the ultimate success at the Ardennes, following in the footsteps of long-time mentor Phil Anderson and Cadel Evans.

    "The next big goal for Gerro is the Ardennes, and if he can nail one of those three and then something again in summer, then he'll be in the top 10 [in the world at the end of the year]," explained GreenEdge sports director Matt White.

    "He's more than ready and I think we have a solid team around him," White continued. "He knows he will be our sole leader at Amstel Gold and Liège-Bastogne-Liège... they suit him a lot more.

    "We might even rest Simon in Flèche Wallone just go he can concentrate more on Liège-Bastogne-Liège."

    Following some down time after his win in Adelaide, Gerrans will have what he calls a ‘traditional approach' to the Ardennes, with his next race the Tour of Sardinnia followed by Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, and then finally the Tour of the Basque Country.

    Gerrans says that he is "definitely" on target to claim victory in one of the three.

    "I've been edging closer and closer every year," the 31-year-old Australian road champion explained. "I got a third place at Amstel last season and I had fantastic shape at Liege, I was a little...

  • Gallery: Contador, Boonen roll out for Tour de San Luis

    Alberto Contador's CAS verdict could come while he is racing the Tour de San Luis
    Article published:
    January 22, 2012, 22:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cycling's elite to remember Xavier Tondo in Argentina

    Some of the biggest stars in cycling will be presented for the 6th Tour de San Luis in Argentina today, with Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador, Tom Boonen and Levi Leipheimer of Omega Pharma-Quickstep and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) amongst the starters for the UCI 2.1 race.

    At the official team presentations in the center of the capital, governor Claudio Poggi, sports minister Maria Celia Sanchez and Union Cycliste of Argentina president Gabriel Curuchet will receive each team on stage.

    In addition to music and fireworks, the race will pay tribute to Spaniard Xavier Tondo, who won the stage four time trial in last year's Tour de San Luis and led the race, and later died in an accident at his home last summer.

    The official start of the race will take place tomorrow at 1pm local time, with riders contesting a 189.3 kilometer stage from San Luis to Villa Mercedes.

  • No Croatian licence for Ricco

    Riccardo Riccò (Meridiana-Kamen)
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 9:21 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    UPDATED: UCI says Croatian federation refused licence for controversial Italian

    Riccardo Ricco has not received a licence from the Croatian cycling federation, despite reports claiming he had the licence. The Spanish media had reported that he was planning to ride with the Continental-ranked Meridian Kamen team.

    UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews that “Ricco is not domiciled in Croatia, and the national federation informed the UCI that the therefore refused to issue a licence for him.” reported that Ricco now has licence number 2787. He announced last June that he had signed with Meridian Kamen, but was subsequently given a temporary suspension. However, he is not long provisionally suspended in Italy, Carpani said.

    The controversial Italian has a hearing scheduled with the national anti-doping tribunal next week, February 3. The Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) has already recommended that he be suspended for 12 years.

    Ricco was rushed to hospital in critical condition last February, allegedly saying he had given himself a blood transfusion. He later denied saying that, and even later claimed that he had given himself an iron solution transfusion.

    If he is found to have violated the anti-doping regulations, it would be his second violation. He previously served a 20-month ban after testing positive for EPO at the 2008 Tour de France.

  • French rider positive for 12 substances

    The laboratory at Châtenay-Malabry
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 10:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    19-year-old third category rider banned for three years

    The French Cycling Federation FFC has announced a three-year suspension for Alexandre Dougnier, who tested positive for no less than 12 different performance-enhancing substances last year. The 19-year-old, who rode with local club AC Boulogne-Billancourt, was caught by surprise at a Kermesse race in Aubervilliers, France, on May 17, 2011.

    Traces of the following substances were found in Dougnier's urine sample, according to the Federation: 3'HydroxyStanozolol, 16B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4B-HydroxyStanozolol, 4-Meyhylhexaneamine, Prednisone, Prednisolone, Oxandrolone, Epioxandrolone, Tuaminoheptane, Triamcinolone Acetonide, 6B-HydroxyMethandienone and 17-Epiméthandienone.

    Dougnier was provisionally suspended on August 4 last year. "The suspension takes effect on the day of receipt of the provisional suspension, on August 18, 2011," the Federation communiqué read. The rider will thus be ineligible to race until and including August 17, 2014.

  • Cavendish with illegal helmet in World Championship race?

    Cavendish lets out a roar of celebration
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 10:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lotto-Belisol prevented from wearing similar helmet with cover at Tour Down Under

    Lotto-Belisol was prevented on Sunday from wearing a similar helmet in the closing stage of the Santos Tour Down Under which Mark Cavendish wore when he won the World Championship in September. A UCI spokesman had declared the helmet illegal in Adelaide.

    The Belgian team wanted to wear its new Lazer helmets with a locking cover which improves aerodynamics, but was not allowed to do so. “It is forbidden to add external elements to the helmet,” UCI  jury foreman Guy Dobbelaere said, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen.

    The Lotto-Belisol riders claim that Cavendish wore a similar Specialized helmet and cover at the road race in Copenhagen, when he won the Worlds title. Although there was discussion amongst fans and within the media at the time, no official action was taken.

    “The start in Copenhagen was pretty chaotic, so we could not control everything,” Dobbelaere said. “But I don't think we would take the World title away from Cavendish because of this.”

  • Boyer: Monier is lucky to be alive

    Damien Monier (Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne) celebrates his victory in stage 17.
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 11:57 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Giro d'Italia stage winner out until April after training accident

    French rider Damien Monier, who was hit by a car during training on Saturday, is in stable condition at the hospital of Clermont-Ferrand. Monier, who won a stage at the 2010 Giro d'Italia, suffered several facial fractures to his jaw and nose as well as a fracture to the base of the skull. Fortunately, there was no bleeding inside the skull, and the break did not affect the cervical vertebrae.

    "But his morale is good, given his situation," Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer told Cyclingnews. "At least, the driver of the car that hit him stopped to attend to him immediately. Medical help was sought right away, so everything was OK from that point of view."

    A first surgery was performed on the week-end but a second operation will be needed to repair important injuries to his front teeth. The surgery is planned for Thursday or Friday but the medical staff has to wait for his facial swelling to diminish.

    "He currently receives liquid nutrition through a straw," continued Boyer. "His jaw is immobilised, he cannot move."

    Monier is expected to spend another 10 days in hospital before returning home. "I think he'll be able to get back on a home trainer only by the end of February. Then, you have to count one month of training, so he'll be ready for competition only at the beginning of April," Boyer said.

    "He really came close. This could have ended much worse."

  • Gallery: Tour de San Luis team presentation

    AG2R has sent a team
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 12:30 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Raucous opening night in Argentina

    With a hard-driving techno soundtrack, an ebullient announcer and thousands of cheering fans packing San Luis's Plaza Pringles, the 25 teams comprising the sixth Tour de San Luis peloton were each welcomed to the stage amidst a spectacle of lights, fog and thunderous applause.

    And while the Tour de San Luis is packed with talent from top to bottom, featuring five ProTour, seven Pro Continental, six Continental as well as seven national teams, it was clear that the assembled masses were there to catch a glimpse, or for the lucky ones a fan photo, with Team Saxo Bank's Alberto Contador.

    Each of the riders comprising the Tour de San Luis peloton, bar one, took a leisurely spin of about 5 blocks from the team hotels down San Luis's main nightlife thoroughfare, Av Illia, to the staging area where they were assembled in a fenced off paddock, but still easily accessible to fans. The exception to the means of arrival to the 8pm presentation kickoff was Contador, who arrived after his Saxo Bank teammates in a team car, and required a cordon of police to fend off the crowd chanting his name and whisk him into the staging area.

    Contador graciously posed with fans pressed against the protective fencing, as well as posed for pictures with several riders before ultimately making his way to the stage as the penultimate team to a huge ovation. The final team to grace the stage was the local Continental squad San Luis Somos Todos.

    Each team was received on stage by San Luis province governor Claudio Poggi, sports minister Maria Celia Sanchez and Union Cycliste of Argentina president Gabriel Curuchet. And just as the amassed throngs busily snapped away with their cameras at the stars of the evening, the riders, too, took their own pictures from stage of the enthusiastic crowd, which for most professionals is their first race introduction of the young season.

    One of the most emotional moments of the evening was reserved for the Movistar team...