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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 4, 2010

Date published:
January 04, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Swift set to move to Team Sky

    Stage seven winner Ben Swift (Katusha)
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 4:15 GMT
    Shane Stokes

    Leaked team photo confirms transfer of British rider

    The official lineup of Team Sky won’t be confirmed until the team's presentation later today but it seems now certain that Ben Swift will be part of the team in 2010.

    A head and shoulders shot of Swift wearing the Team Sky jersey was published on the Wielerland and Biciciclismo sites on Sunday and this, together with his omission from the 2010 Team Katusha lineup, indicates that he will race with the new British ProTour team.

    A message from Bradley Wiggins on Twitter also appeared to confirm the move.

    Swift is one of the most promising young British riders in cycling, as evidenced by his fourth place in the espoirs race at the 2008 world championships. This result built upon his 2007 victory in the King of the Mountains classification in the Tour of Britain.

    He signed a pro contract with Team Katusha for 2009 and 2010 and impressed in his first season with the Russian squad. Early in the year he was second in the Nokere Koerse, then took placings of second, third and fourth in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, as well as an excellent third in stage two of the Giro d’Italia.

    That speed later earned him a win on stage seven of the Tour of Britain.

    In recent weeks, the 22-year-old was involved in a similar tug of war as that which took place this autumn between Wiggins and Team Garmin-Transitions. Both Garmin and Swift’s Katusha team had valid contracts with the British riders, but Sky’s lawyers persisted until they got their way.

    The UCI is known to be considering changing its rules this year to prevent contracts being broken in the future. UCI President Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews in December that he was concerned at recent developments in this area, referring to Swift’s situation and also the sudden move of world champion Cadel Evans to Team BMC.

    In December, Sky named Swift as part of their planned lineup for the Tour Down Under. This led...

  • McEwen pleased with nationals development

    Stage winner André Greipel (Columbia-HTC) celebrates on the podium.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 7:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two-time national champ backs Aussie-only race

    Robbie McEwen has expressed his satisfaction with the decision by Columbia-HTC directeur sportif Allan Peiper not to enter German riders André Greipel and Bert Grabsch in next weekend's Scody Australian Open Road Championships.

    Championships director John Craven advised Cyclingnews that Greipel and Grabsch were not entered into the men's road race due to contractual obligations with Santos Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur. Those arrangements stipulate that riders can't compete in races other than the one they have been flown to Australia in which to participate - namely, the Santos Tour Down Under.

    McEwen had earlier stated that he believes the decision to enter foreign riders in the men's national championship road race was a poor one, and called on organisers to rectify the situation. He told Cyclingnews recently: "I have had support from riders, team directors and coaching staff who are also 100 percent for an Aussie only title race.

    He won the 1995 Australian open professional title as an amateur before taking the national champ's jersey in 2002 and '05. He recently made his comeback at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, with a view to performing well in this month's Santos Tour Down Under.

    The announcement by Columbia-HTC management to include Greipel and Grabsch was designed to aid the team's experienced Australian, Michael Rogers, in his bid to take the road race national championship after winning the national time trial title in 2009.

    It was met with criticism from McEwen who said late last month, "I just find it so disappointing that our federation finds it necessary to include foreigners in our national championship who can and will change the course of the race, thus influencing [for better or worse] the result."

    The decision not to enter the powerful German duo opens up the field for the showcase event, which boasts a multitude of possible winners, including Rogers and...

  • Saxo Bank rule out move for Ivan Basso

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 9:13 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    General manager denies bid for Italian

    Saxo Bank did not offer a contract to Ivan Basso, ending speculation that the Danish outfit were after the Italian's signature. “He is a great rider and a good guy, but we have not offered him a contract,” Saxo Bank General Manager Trey Greenwood told Cyclingnews.

    “It is very romantic and interesting, because he used to ride for us, but it's just not true,” he said.

    The Gazzetta dello Sport reported last week that Saxo Bank had made an offer for Basso, but withdrew it due to financial difficulties. The Italian extended his current contract with Team Liquigas for an additional two years.

    “Offering someone a contract is a very serious matter. It is the final step in a long process between our management and a rider, and that process has not taken place,” Greenwood continued.

    Basso rode for the Danish team from 2004 to 2006, when it was named Team CSC. While there he won the Giro d'Italia and finished second in the Tour de France. He was suspended for his involvement in Operacion Puerto, with his contract ultimately being dissolved in October 2006. He was suspended for two years, before returning to racing at the end of 2008.

    “He is a good rider,” Greenwood said. “The expectations were high for his comeback, and I think he met them. He is a very classy guy, very professional. He continued to train the entire time he was suspended, and did very well when he came back. Ivan is well respected by his fellow riders.”

    Greenwood added two reasons why the team were not interested in signing Basso. First of all, “where would he fit into the team?” With Andy and Fränk Schleck, Saxo Bank already has “two good contenders for the Grand Tours.”

    Secondly, Basso already had a contract with Liquigas for 2010. “We are not, and never have been, a team to go after riders with another team,” Greenwood said....

  • Riccò eager to race again

    Can Riccò win back the fans he let down?
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 9:47 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Italian ready to come back in March with Ceraminca Flaminia

    Riccardo Riccò will make his return to racing on March 18, 2010, after a 20-month ban. The enfant terrible of Italian cycling, rather outspoken in the past, has taken a low-profile during his suspension and is now looking forward to returning into the public eye.

    "I have admitted my wrongdoings, and now all I want to think about is the bike," Riccò told Italian daily Libero on Sunday, saying that he was confident he could return to the highest level once again.

    "Inside of me, I know that I can do it, I'm only waiting for the road to confirm my sensations."

    Ceraminca Flaminia, the Professional Continental team that signed the Italian through 2011, will be welcoming Riccò once his suspension ends. With his personal trainer, Giovanni Camorani, the "Cobra" has set up a training programme for him to be competitive right away - two days after being back in business, on March 20, the squad hopes to be at the start of Milano-Sanremo.

    "If not, my race programme will change," commented Riccò when asked whether he thought he would participate in "La Primavera". The 26-year-old also nurtures hope to be invited to the Giro d'Italia.

    Now that his ban will come to an end, Riccò feels his return to competition is right. "I'm not the first one who faulted, nor will I be the last. But it's important to get a second chance. We cannot pay for our mistakes our whole lives.

    "I churned out the kilometres to prepare for my return, and I have a great will to come back. Two years are a lot, but I don't think of it as a new career. Rather, it is a new beginning and we will see where it will lead me."

    The Italian knows that part of the public might not be happy to see him back. "It was like that even before my ban, with those who were against me. You can't please everyone. Many people close to me have given me their support," he said, adding that he will return to his former self - in terms...

  • Frattini fractures collarbone

    Davide Frattini (Fuji) working his way through the top 10 riders.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 10:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Training crash for new Team Type I rider

    David Frattini of Team Type I will miss the first part of the season after breaking his collarbone in a training crash this weekend.

    While riding in Varese, the Italian crashed and not only fractured his right collarbone, but also severely bruised his femur, according to the Italian website

    “I was really unlucky,” the 31-year-old said. “But I will be able to travel to the States for the first ride with my new team, Team Type I, in early February.”

    Frattini joined Team Type I this year after five years with Colavita-Sutter Home. His best finish in 2009 was fourth in the US Air Force Cycling Classic.

  • Armstrong to race Amstel Gold

    Lance Armstrong in Tucson, Arizona.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 10:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    American reportedly returns to Dutch Classic in 2010

    Lance Armstrong has released further details of his 2010 race programme. In a Dutch TV interview, to be aired on the evening of January 4, the American reportedly confirms his planned participation in the Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands in April.

    According to Dutch website Wielerflits, the seven-time Tour de France winner plans to include the Spring Classic in his race schedule again after having raced the event four times in the past, finishing second in 1999 and 2001 respectively.

    Amstel Gold Race is the most important Dutch road race, taking place in the province of Limburg and finishing on the famous Cauberg in Valkenburg.

    The interview will be aired on TV channel Nederland 3 at 8.30pm CET on Monday evening.


  • Team Sky announces squads for January and February races

    Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky manager David Brailsford.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 13:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Debut races for new British ProTour team

    Team Sky has announced its squads for the first two months of its debut ProTour season, covering the world from the Tour Down Under in Australia as its very first race, to the Tours of Qatar and Oman in the Middle East, and finishing with the Clasica di Almeria in Spain at the end of February.

    The team will make its racing debut in the Cancer Council Helpline Classic, a city criterium in Adelaide, Australia, on January 17, followed by the ProTour-ranked Tour Down Under January 19-24. The seven-man squad will feature new signing Ben Swift.

    That will be followed b the GP Cycliste la Marseillaise on January, with Peter Kennaugh riding his first professional race at the tender age of 20.

    Team captain Bradley Wiggins will start his season in February with the five-stage Etoile de Besseges (February 3-7), while Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead Team Sky in the Tours of Qatar (February 7-12) and Oman (February 14-19).

    Further races include the Tour du Haut Var (Feb. 20-21) and the Vuelta a Andalucia (February 21-25). The month finishes off with a series of one-day races, including the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 27), GP dell'Insubria-Lugano (February 27), Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne (February 28), GP di Lugano (February 28) and the Clasica de Almeria (February 28).


    Tour Down Under: Russell Downing, Chris Froome, Mat Hayman, Greg Henderson, Chris Sutton, Ben Swift and Davide Viganò.

    GP Cycliste la Marseillaise John-Lee Augustyn, Michael Barry, Sylvain Calzati, Steve Cummings, Peter Kennaugh, Nicolas Portal and Morris Possoni.

    Etoile de Bessèges: John-Lee Augustyn, Michael Barry, Sylvain Calzati, Steve Cummings, Peter Kennaugh, Nicolas Portal, Morris Possoni and Bradley Wiggins.

    Tour of Qatar: Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Russell Downing, Juan Antonio Flecha, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Ian...

  • 2009 Reader Poll: Cobbles continue to capture readers' imagination

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) claims his third Paris-Roubaix title in April 2009
    Article published:
    January 04, 2010, 15:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Paris-Roubaix tops best one-day race category

    Tom Boonen's third Paris-Roubaix title captured the imagination of Cyclingnews readers in 2009, the Belgian's success voted best one-day event of last season.

    With 7,091 readers giving the thumbs-up to the Northern Classic, Paris-Roubaix polled in excess of 4,000 votes more than the men's road race at the UCI World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Boonen won another Roubaix title on April 12, his second consecutive victory in the race and his third since winning it in 2005. It came before another controversy involving cocaine and the Quick Step rider, which embroiled him last May ahead of the Tour de France.

    Regardless of his misdemeanours, Cyclingnews readers still voted for his Roubaix triumph, which placed him among greats such as Eddy Merckx, Johan Museeuw and Rik Van Looy, who each won the event three times.

    Cadel Evans' triumph in the world championship road race in Mendrisio, near his European home close to the Italo-Swiss border (pictured below) was ranked second amongst Cyclingnews readers, garnering 2,933 votes. It beat Milano-Sanremo into third place, the 2009 edition of the Italian classic registering 1,718 votes.

    Australian stalwart Cadel Evans en route to victory in Mendrisio.

    Mark Cavendish signalled his intentions for the season with a thrilling final-metre lunge against Heinrich Haussler, the dramatic conclusion enhancing the passion for 'il Classicisimo' amongst British cycling fans, which was reflected in the reader voting.

    Cyclingnews reader poll results - Best one day race

    Paris-Roubaix: 7091
    Men's World Championship Road Race: 2933
    Milano-Sanremo: 1718
    Ronde van Vlaanderen: 1108
    Liege-Bastogne-Liege: 957