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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 3, 2011

Date published:
January 03, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • HTC-Highroad gets rolling for 2011

    The 2011 HTC kit is simple.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 1:41 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery from team's camp at Specialized's headquarters

    The HTC-Highroad team kicked off the 2011 season early with a December visit to the Specialized headquarters in Morgan Hill, California. The team announced a multi-year deal with the bicycle manufacturer in October.

    Riders went away from the camp with bags full of gear from new sponsor Nike, new team bikes dialed in at Specialized's fit studio and new friendships as both the men's and women's teams got acquainted with each other.

    Highroad president Bob Stapleton, team manager Rolf Aldag and sprint coach Erik Zabel were on hand for the proceedings and to introduce the team to the assembled press.

    The three-day meeting included core workouts, power and cardiac testing as well as the usual training rides in the California countryside.

    The HTC-Highroad team concluded the camp with extended training in Southern California before riders dispersed for the holidays. The team will kick off its 2011 campaign at the Tour Down Under this month.

  • Alex Rasmussen trades track racing for road focus

    Denmark's Alex Rasmussen looks pretty pleased with the evening's progress
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 9:31 GMT
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    Dane will not defend scratch race world title

    Alex Rasmussen has four world titles to his name on the track, but the Dane will abandon the discipline after the UCI's changes to the Olympic programme eliminated the events in which he excelled.

    Twice a world champion in the scratch race and once in the Madison with partner Michael M¯rk¯v, Rasmussen was also part of Denmark's winning pursuit team in 2009, but is unsure he will be a part of the team when the Olympic Games come to London in 2012.

    "It's been a real shame they took the Madison away, especially since it was the discipline I could win," Rasmussen told Cyclingnews at his new HTC-Highroad team's camp in California. "I don't know if I will go to the track for the Olympics. There's still a team pursuit, but I'm not sure I'm going to be there. There's a completely new team, so we'll see how good they are before the Olympics and if I can contribute."

    Rasmussen says he is part of a trend of top-level endurance track cyclists who have abandoned the boards to have more lucrative careers on the road after the points race, Madison and individual pursuit were axed from the Olympic program in favor of the omnium.

    "I was disappointed in the changes. It was really terrible for track cycling, it killed it for me and a lot of guys. All the guys who were good on the track just went to the road."

    With the track world championships conflicting with the Spring Classics, Rasmussen said that even though these events are part of the worlds, he is not sure when he will compete on the track again aside from the occasional winter Six Day.

    "You lose a lot of training momentum travelling to the Six Days and going to the worlds. This year I kind of lost it after the track. I was supposed to do Paris-Roubaix, but I didn't have very good road shape. So I did three weeks of very hard training. I had a gravel race I won in Denmark [the GP Herning on May 1], and then two stages of Dunkirk.

    "It took me a month...

  • Moinard happy to work for leaders at BMC

    Amaël Moinard (Cofidis)
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 10:23 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Le Mével building towards Giro d’Italia

    Amaël Moinard expects to have less freedom to chase his own results at BMC than he did at Cofidis, but the Frenchman insists that is happy to work for his new team’s leaders.

    “It’s going to change my approach to races, but that’s no problem,” Moinard told L’Équipe. “I’m certain that there is plenty to learn by rubbing shoulders with riders like Evans, Hincapie and Ballan.”

    Moinard turned professional with Cofidis in 2005 and his best results there were an impressive 14th place in his debut Tour de France in 2008 and a stage win at Paris-Nice last season. After six seasons with the team, however, the time had come for Moinard to move on, and he is enthusiastic about some of the novelties he came across at BMC’s first training camp in Calpe, Spain.

    “At the camp in Spain in December, we trained using our earpiece to repeat certain exercises,” he explained. “I’d never come across that before.”

    Moinard begins his 2011 season at the Tour Down Under, before making his European bow in BMC colours at the Trofeo Laigueglia on February 19.

    Le Mével building towards Giro d’Italia

    Another Frenchman on the move in 2011 is Christophe Le Mével, who swaps FDJ colours for Garmin-Cervélo. He will begin his season at the Tour of the Mediterranean and follow a largely French-based programme ahead of the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d’Italia.

    “It’s exactly the programme that I wanted,” Le Mével told L’Équipe. “It’s perfect for building up well to the Giro d’Italia, where I’d like to do well on the general classification.”

    Le Mével will co-lead Garmin-Cervélo’s Giro challenge with Irishman Dan Martin, and he has already had the opportunity to meet with his new...

  • Breschel thought he had won Worlds road race

    Matti Breschel (Denmark) on the podium with his silver medal.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 10:34 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dane still coping with disappointment of silver medal

    Finishing second in the Worlds road race last fall left a bitter taste in Matti Breschel's mouth. “The preparation was not optimal, and I have only myself to blame for the medal,” he said.

    Breschel did not ride the Vuelta a España, as he would have liked, so he had to train without being able to gauge his against that of his competitors. Still, he had the best possible support from his Danish teammates at the race in Geelong.

    "The last mile was hectic. It was hard to keep track of anything,” he told sporten.dk. “The Danes were the only ones in the majority, and the others could see that, so there was pressure all around." Chris Anker Sørensen “rode like a motorcycle”, according to Breschel, while Anders Lund “was allowed to save himself for the last 500 meters, where he could open up the sprint for me.”

    Things went so well in the finale that Breschel declared himself the winner, albeit too early. “At 100 metres I thought, 'Now I have won. I am world champion.' So it was a huge pill to swallow when the great Norwegian (Thor Hushovd) managed to pass by. It was so close and yet so far.”

    Surprisingly, the Dane had only two wins all season: Dwars door Vlaanderen and a stage at the Tour of Denmark. Those, combined with his silver medal, were enough for him to claim Denmark's cyclist of the year title. “The recognition made me happy and proud, but my feelings are still mixed, because I am riding to win races.”

    He did not finish the Giro di Lombardia, his last race for Team Saxo Bank, after six years with the team. Before joining Rabobank this year, however, he underwent knee surgery, which may or may not keep him out of the Spring Classics.

  • Brown down but not out

    (r-l): Graeme Brown (Urban) keeps a close watch on Baden Cooke (Lowe Farms/Boomaroo Nurseries) and Mark Renshaw (02 Networks) during racing on day two in Portarlington.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 11:26 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank sprinter not seriously injured in Jayco crash

    Graeme Brown went down hard on the second stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, but Rabobank's Australian will be back for more on Tuesday.

    “He didn't go to hospital and he is okay,” Rabobank spokesman Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews. “He will start again tomorrow.”

    Brown had been fourth overall going into the second day, but now has lost his chances of overall victory. He crashed on the back of the course, with only three laps left to go. His left arm was covered with cuts, scratches and blood.

    He refrained from placing blame for the crash, saying only that he was “putting it down to a race incident,” according to skynews.com.au.

    Not so lucky was Belinda Goss, who was second n the women's competition after the first day. She crashed on a corner near the start of the race, and was out with a suspected broken collarbone.

    Rabobank was not only relieved that Brown's injuries were not more extensive, but were thrilled with the day's winner and new overall leader, Michael Matthews. “What a way to start his period with Rabo for Michael Matthews,” Eisenga told Cyclingnews.

    Matthews, who last fall won the U23 men's road race, is turning pro this year with the Dutch ProTeam. He is riding Jayco for the Urban team and will make his debut with Rabobank in a few weeks at the Tour Down Under.

  • Ballan to skip Qatar and Oman

    Alessandro Ballan (BMC) has had a disappointing time of it this season.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 11:59 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Former world champion looking to return to past levels

    Alessandro Ballan is determined to put his disappointing debut season with BMC behind him and return to the levels that saw him win the world championships road race in Varese in 2008. He will skip the Tours of Qatar and Oman as he alters his preparation for the classics.

    “I want to return to being the rider of 2007 and 2008,” Ballan told Gazzetta dello Sport. “You know that my objectives are Flanders, which is a beautiful race, and Paris-Roubaix, which is history.”

    Ballan won the Tour of Flanders in 2007 and finished third in the 2008 Paris-Roubaix behind Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara. However, he endured an underwhelming season in the rainbow jersey in 2009 and he faced further problems during his first year at BMC.

    The Italian was withheld from competition for most of April and May by his team, when it emerged that he was linked in the Mantua-based investigation into alleged doping at his former Lampre team. After an internal investigation, BMC cleared Ballan to return to racing at the end of May but he struggled for form thereafter and failed to make the Italian squad for the world championships in Geelong.

    Looking ahead to the 2011 season, Ballan has altered his calendar and will forgo the February races in the Middle East in order to have a home-based build-up to the classics.

    “I’ve asked the team to change my programme,” he said. “Qatar and Oman don’t suit me as there aren’t any climbs, a fundamental part of my preparation. I’ll start with the Tour Down Under and then I’ll proceed with the Italian calendar as far as Milan-San Remo.”

    After San Remo, Ballan will head north, where the Three Days of De Panne will be his final warm-up for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Before that, he travels to Australia on Thursday to train ahead of the Tour Down Under.

    “Without doubt, 2011 is a season of...

  • Pooley Voted Cyclingnews Female Road Rider of the Year

    A softly spoken Emma Pooley (Great Britain) made history with her elite women’s time trial victory – the first British woman to win the title and just the second British rider after Chris Boardman to take gold in the time trial.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 12:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Briton crowned season with Worlds time trial victory

    Emma Pooley capped off a year of superlatives by winning the title of Female Road Rider of the Year in Cyclingnews' annual reader poll. The Briton won races all season long, topping it off with the World time trial title.

    Pooley, 28, had 13 wins in the season, including national titles in both the road and time trial disciplines. She showed her versatility by her wide variety of wins: the Classics with Fleche Wallonne; other one-day races, such as the GP de Plouay-Bretagne World Cup; time trialing, as in the Grand Prix de Suisse Time Trial; and stage races, winning the overall titles in both the Tour de l'Aude and the Giro del Trentino.

    At the British national road race, she finally stood on the top step of the podium, after finishing second in 2008 and third in 2009. In a race shortened by a mass crash, Pooley attacked constantly, and on her attack in the last lap was finally able to drop Nicole Cooke, who had won the title the last nine years. Pooley then stayed ahead to win by eight seconds.

    After a full season she then went on to defend her national time trial title, covering the 33km course 19 seconds faster than her closest competitor.

    In Geelong, she dominated the womens' time trial, setting best times at each split and won by 15 seconds over Germany's Judith Arndt. She overcame a certain amount of difficulty to take the title, as she was not on her usual bike, and the bike she was provided with didn't meet all the regulations. Last-minute adjustments were made, and Pooley was able to adapt to the new bike.

    She was only the second Briton to win a time trial gold, and the first British woman. "Yeah, it's fantastic,” said Pooley. “I can't quite believe it. Maybe I will wake up in five minutes and it will be this morning again!

    "I think the time trial is a fairly good test,” she added. “I'm really happy. I guess it all went well.”

    Second place in the...

  • BMC putting no pressure on Phinney in rookie year

    Taylor Phinney (USA) tries his best superman pose on the podium.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 13:17 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Young American to gather experience and develop this year

    Taylor Phinney is ready to make his full-time ProTeam debut, and will race in the BMC Racing Team kit for the first time in the Tour of Qatar next month. However, the team is being careful not to put any pressure on the youngster to win.

    "For Taylor, it will be about understanding how the pro peloton races and what some of the nuances are around a ProTeam,” team president Jim Ochowicz said on the BMC website. “Obviously, the rookie year for him will be a lot of new territory. We want to get him the experience he needs, but not where it's going to cost him down the road.”

    The 20-year-old will start with the Tours of Qatar and Oman, before moving to the Spring Classics. “Once his classics program is over, he'll go to the Amgen Tour of California to prepare for the U.S. National championships on the road and the time trial,” according to Directeur Sportif John Lelangue.

    "This season will be all about getting experience. There will be no pressure. The other guys on the team are happy to help develop him.”

    For his part, Phinney hopes to help build up American cycling. “I'm always trying to bring new people into the sport,” he said. “Whether it means people following me in the classics or if I'm going for prologues or time trials, it's not really about highlighting one certain type of race, but highlighting the sport in general.

    "I'm looking forward to being up there with the next big generation. Hopefully I can do my part.”

    Phinney brings the very highest credentials. He is reigning U23 World time trial champion, and elite national time trial champion, and can boast a variety of world and national elite and junior titles on both the road and the track.

    He had an equally impressive number of wins on the road last season, with his second straight victory in the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, and the overall title (with four stage wins) at the Olympia...