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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 24, 2011

Date published:
January 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Lefevere wants Stybar, with or without Telenet-Fidea

    Patrick Lefevere will be hoping for improvement from his team in 2011.
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 11:57 GMT
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Quick Step manager offered to buy 'cross team

    During the Quick Step team presentation in Kortrijk on Friday, team manager Patrick Lefevere stated that he proposed to integrate the Telenet-Fidea cyclo-cross team into his Quick Step team in order to secure the services of cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar. "I asked Hanks van Kasteren if we could buy his team, but he didn't agree," Lefevere said on Friday.

    The Telenet-Fidea team is currently owned by Dutchman Hans van Kasteren, who is heading for retirement, but title sponsor Telenet is said to be continuing its support only if its top riders including Stybar remain with the team.

    "I understand that Hans has a problem with his current sponsors as he can only keep them if he can keep Stybar. I think that if they were be a Continental team under our wing, with some road riders added to the roster, the sponsors wouldn't be unhappy," Lefevere said.

    In the past few months there has been an ongoing dispute between Van Kasteren and Stybar, who has been heavily courted by the Quick Step team and who has expressed the desire to test himself as a road cyclist. The contract between Stybar and Telenet-Fidea ends in February 2011 but contains a clause that offers Van Kasteren right of first refusal.

    According to Lefevere, Stybar's agent Paul De Geyter considers his client a free agent if Telenet-Fidea cannot offer him a serious road program.

    "To make it on the road Stybar has to say no to a lot of start money in cyclo-cross and invest in the road," said Lefevere. "He wants to do that for one or two years to see where he can get. He can always return to cross since he's only 25 years old."

    "I can offer Stybar a ride at the Tour de France, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, which is his dreams or the Tour of Austria ... I made the offer a long time ago but he didn't give a concrete response. There are only a few options: either Stybar is free, or Van Kasteren is willing to integrate his team into ours. If not, then there's a...

  • Moinard sets new ambitions with BMC

    Amael Moinard (Cofidis) takes the final stage of Paris-Nice
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 13:22 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman to guide Evans at the Tour de France and Phinney at Paris-Nice

    The first man to attack from the gun on stage 5 of the Santos Tour Down Under was BMC’s new recruit Amaël Moinard, and the Frenchman is hoping to fire in 2011.

    Moinard is set to become a right-hand man for Cadel Evans at the Tour de France and a guide for Taylor Phinney in a near future.

    “I’ve been impressed by the speed here at the Tour Down Under,” Moinard told Cyclingnews in Adelaide.

    “I’ve loved riding with Alessandro Ballan”, Moinard said. “He’s such a nice guy and a great professional.”

    The Frenchman left Cofidis because he wanted a new adventure. In previous years, he already spoke about his passion for travelling and meeting people all around the world and a move the American squad came after six years on the French team.

    “I needed a new experience after six years at Cofidis," he said.

    “I was tempted to join a foreign team. BMC was the one that showed the strongest interest in hiring me. When [team president] Jim Ochowicz and [directeur sportif] John Lelangue interviewed me, they realized that I was able to speak English. I’m interested in communicating in other languages too.”

    Moinard came to the forefront when he finished fourteenth of the 2008 Tour de France. “I probably put too much pressure on myself after that,” he admitted.

    “Now I know my levels. Unless exceptional circumstances, I’m not able to get a better overall result.” He feels like he has entered a different world since the words he hears the most at BMC are “no pressure” and “enjoy”.

    “I’ll be looking for opportunities for myself at one-week long races like Paris-Nice, the Dauphiné or the Vuelta al Pais Vasco,” he said. “But I want to become a good domestique for someone who can win a Grand Tour. This can happen at BMC. I don’t know...

  • Garmin-Cervelo dismisses Matt White

    Jonathan Vaughters and Matt White share a word
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 14:04 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Updated: Australian sacked after sending Lowe to del Moral

    Garmin-Cervelo has dismissed Matt White after discovering that the directeur sportif referred Trent Lowe to the former US Postal team physician Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral at the Sports Institute of Valencia. The incident took place in April 2009. The former Garmin rider met with del Moral for a Vo2 test which contravened the team’s strict anti-doping and medical referral rules.

    Cyclingnews understands that Garmin were notified of the meeting with del Moral after a contract dispute between the rider and team during the final stages of 2010.

    “Slipstream Sports has an explicit internal policy that all medical referrals are approved by our medical staff. In this instance, this vital rule was broken. As a result, the Board of Directors has dismissed Matt White,” the team said in a press release.

    The press release also stated that White had been dismissed for this and no other reason, essentially playing down any speculation to the GreenEdge team he had been rumoured to join.

    Lowe joined Slipstream in 2008 after riding for two seasons at the Discovery team. He finished second in the Tour of Georgia in his first season with Vaughters’ squad and competed in the Tour de France. White also joined the team in 2008 as a directeur after a career that saw him ride for teams in the US, France and Italy.

    Lowe struggled after his first season with Slipstream through illness and was released at the end of 2010, joining the new defunct Pegasus Sports team. At this time Trent Lowe was not willing to comment.

    Cyclingnews spoke to Vaughters who travelled to Australia this week. “This was a hard thing to do, a very hard thing to do but was the only thing to do. Hard decisions need to be made and procedures and policies have to be adhered to. We don’t have a choice if we want the sport to go forward.”

    “We made a promise to our riders and to the world when we...

  • HTC-Highroad creates fund for Swart

    Carla Swart on her way out for a training ride
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 17:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Carla's Circle will benefit fallen rider's family

    The HTC-Highroad team announced today that it has created a fund to raise money to help the family of Carla Swart, who died this week in a training accident.

    100 per cent of the funds donated to Carla's Circle will go to Swart's family.

    "Carla was also a loving daughter and sister. She spoke fondly about her parents who were her constant inspiration," the team said. "Carla's father Deon was brave enough to start a new life in an unfamiliar country and came to the USA in 2003 so that his family would have greater opportunities.

    "She admired her mother for her constant support and dedication to her family while at the same time fighting serious illness. Karen Swart was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 20 years ago. Carla's ambitions included personally raising money to help fight this painful and debilitating disease."

    The fund will help the family and continue Carla's interests. Direct deposits can be made on the

  • Coppel aiming for top 15 finish at Tour de France

    Jerome Coppel is the team's stage race hopeful
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 19:36 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Photo gallery from Saur-Sojasun presentation

    Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) is targeting a top 15 place at July’s Tour de France. The young French hope impressed in finishing 5th at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and in 2011 he will have the opportunity to exhibit his talents on the sport’s biggest stage.

    “It’s true that I’m progressing every year,” Coppel told L’Équipe. “Now I’m more of a climber-rouleur than a rouler-climber and I think that I can make the top 15 in my first full Tour.”

    Coppel made his Tour debut as a 22-year-old with Française des Jeux in 2009 but abandoned the race during the 12th stage. After a first campaign with Saur-Sojasun in 2010, the fourth-year professional will lead the team in its first Tour outing.

    “I feel capable of it, they have confidence in me on this team,” he said. “We don’t have big names but we’re closely-knit and that’s what I’m looking for. Furthermore, it’s only by riding the Tour as a leader that I’ll be able to see where I’m at.

    “I’m giving myself another three years to progress well. At 27, 28 years of age, I’ll be capable of doing great things.”

    Coppel gave one of the first signs of his potential at last year’s Paris-Nice, where he finished in 10th place. This time around, however, he will instead ride the Ruta del Sol and Tour of Murcia, as Saur-Sojasun were not invited to the race to the sun this time around. They lost out to the Bretagne-Schuller team.

    “At first, it was a bit of a shock,” Coppel said of his team’s exclusion. “But in any case, it’s better to go to the Tour and not to Paris-Nice than the opposite.”

    Meanwhile, Saur-Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot echoed his star rider’s high aspirations for the Tour.

    “It’s not a...

  • Tondo disappointed to lose the Tour de San Luis

    Xavier Tondo (Movistar)
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 20:49 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Spaniard crashes out of contention in stage six

    Xavier Tondo (Movistar) was at the top of the leader board at the Tour de San Luis with two stages to go but a crash on the way to the stage six finish line cost him 15 minutes and took him out of contention for the overall title. Marco Arriagada (Team Chile) replaced Tondo as the new overall race leader heading into the final stage seven, a circuit race in the city of San Luis on Sunday.

    “I know it is disappointing but sometimes the man with the hammer hits you and he hit me today,” Tondo told Cyclingnews. “I’m really disappointed and more because my team did a really good job, but racing is like this sometimes. Congratulations to Marco because he showed everyone that he was really strong in the mountains.”

    Tondo entered the event as a likely candidate to win the overall classification along with his teammate Mauricio Soler. He moved into the race lead following his victory in the stage four 19.5 km time trial. He increased that lead to 34 seconds on the mountaintop finish in stage five. The odds of securing the race win were in his favor with one mountainous stage to go, the queen stage six.

    With help from Soler, Tondo passed the two decisive climbs with his rivals Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Josue Mayano (Team Argentina) and Marco Arriagada (Team Chile). However, he crashed along the predominantly downhill but undulating terrain inside 20 km to the finish line.

    “The problem was not the crash, the problem was that Marco attacked at the bottom of the climb and he showed that he was in really good shape,” Tondo said. “We reacted really well with Mauricio Soler and caught him with three kilometres from the top of the climb.”

    “Just after the top we rode together and I was feeling like sooner or later I would get dropped,” he said. “I thought that the last part was flat but there were a lot of little...

  • Armstrong era 'corrupt' says ex-mechanic

    Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) has had a quiet race on the bike but faced tough questions off it
    Article published:
    January 23, 2011, 23:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Armstrong's career ends at Tour Down Under

    Lance Armstrong wrapped up his international racing career on Sunday at the final stage of the Tour Down Under.

    Armstrong riding for RadioShack, finished his final international World Tour event in 67th position, 6min 42sec behind overall winner 23 year-old Australian Cameron Meyer of Garmin-Cervelo.

    The Texan was presented with a thank you gift from South Australian Premier Mike Rann who credited Armstrong with drawing crowds of nearly 800, 000 and raising AUS$40 million for the local economy this year alone.

    Rann said he hoped a pair of locally-made RM Williams boots, an iconic Australian manufacturer, would be worn by Armstrong the next time he visited the race. To that Armstrong excitedly replied after inspection: "I'll wear them tonight."

    "This is amazing and to start and finish in this city and to be all around the area, all over South Australia, to be treated like kings when we often are not, I should say, sometimes, it's been a real pleasure," Armstrong told the crowd at the presentation.

    "I congratulate you all on building an unbelievable event ... we travel all over the world and you do not see crowds or an atmosphere like this in many places.

    "This rivals the Tour [de France], the Giro [d'Italia]and all the big races.

    "Thanks for a great couple of years, a great few years. Not just from myself but from all of us in the peloton."

    Armstrong made a quick getaway from the presentation and did not take any questions from the waiting media.

    In 2009, Armstrong chose the Tour Down Under as the event for his international comeback from retirement.

    As he steps down from racing in these major events, Armstrong is facing an ongoing US federal investigation that his former mechanic and assistant, Mike Anderson, sees as likely to have a negative outcome.

    "Whatever happens, happens," Anderson said, according to the Sunday Star-Times. "But what he may become is a symbol for...

  • Roberts rebounds with great Down Under performance

    Luke Roberts is starting to enjoy his time on the podium as the KOM leader.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2011, 6:05 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Luck the key ingredient for a 2011 contract

    Luke Roberts has done his chances of finding a new professional team no harm with another top 10 overall and the mountains classification at this year's Santos Tour Down Under, which finished yesterday.

    The South Australian was dominant in the latter classification whilst finishing just 28 seconds behind overall winner Cameron Meyer of Garmin-Cervélo. He may have shown his class with his performance over the past week but it doesn't guarantee him a place in a professional team for this season, however.

    Roberts was one of Pegasus Sports' marquee riders, having made the decision to join the fledgling outfit that aimed to gain ProTour status and then changed its goal to a ProConti licence, which was not forthcoming late last year. With "nothing concrete" from Pegasus regarding a Continental ride for 2011, it's left Roberts in a sticky predicament.

    "It's extremely stressful for the riders over the last month; the position I was in at the Tour, with so many ProTour points... I made the decision to go with the Australian pro team and be a part of the project. After what happened there are a lot of unanswered questions - I don't know whether to put the blame on the management or the blame lies with the UCI..." Roberts told Cyclingnews at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

    "To me there are just unanswered questions and at the end of the day it's the riders who are the victims of the whole thing. Some riders are lucky to get out and find spots somewhere else but there are still riders who are sitting here and have been totally burned by it."

    With the advent of GreenEdge Cycling, there's the possibility Roberts could aim for a ride at the team headed up by former Australian Institute of Sport director of high performance, Shayne Bannan. The former CSC rider, who has ridden the Tour de France and has an Olympic gold medal to his credit, says that the timeframe involved could hurt him, with the Australian professional outfit not...