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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, June 28, 2010

Date published:
June 28, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Sablikova speeds to dual Czech titles

    Martina Sáblíková won the 3000 and 5000m speed skating events in Vancouver.
    Article published:
    June 26, 2010, 22:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic speed skating champion could compete in cycling in 2012

    Martina Sablikova, a double gold medal winner in the Vancouver winter Olympic Games in speed skating, won both the time trial and road race in her national cycling championships this week.

    The 23-year-old, who also has six speed skating world titles to her name, may focus more on her cycling with a goal of competing in the summer Olympics in London in 2012, according to AFP.

    On Thursday, Sablikova topped Martina Ruzickova by 46 seconds to claim the national time trial title. The pair were separated by a much larger 3:48 margin in the road race in Kyjov on Saturday, where Sablikova once more proved her dominance.

  • Astana names Tour de France team

    The Astana team was able to sit back and rest with Navarro up the road.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2010, 12:32 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Contador checks out Bordeaux time trial

    Astana has named its nine riders for the Tour de France, confirming the presence of Alexandre Vinokourov in the team.

    As expected, the nine-rider squad has built with the aim to help Alberto Contador win a third Tour de France. It includes experienced riders such as Vinokourov, Italian domestique Paolo Tiralongo and the Ukraine's Andriy Grivko, plus Spaniards David De la Fuente, Jesus Hernandez, Benjamin Noval and Daniel Navarro.

    2006 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro is not in the final nine. He has been training at altitude with Contador on the Sierra de Madrid but will likely target the Vuelta Espana in September.

    "The Team Astana that will support Alberto Contador on the roads of the Tour de France is the result of collective teamwork. The team that will be in Rotterdam on the 3rd of July is a strong, united group full of different qualities," Team manager Yvon Sanquer said in a statement.

    "Along with the experienced Alexander Vinokourov, all the other seven riders will work to support Alberto Contador with their combined strength. They are ready to help him in the mountains stages and on the flat stages, all the way to Paris on the 25th of July."

    Final altitude training, Bordeaux visit

    Contador opted not to ride the Spanish national road championships this week. Instead he headed to altitude for a final week of mountain training in the Sierra de Madrid and then on Sunday traveled to Bordeaux to study the final time trial stage of the Tour de France. 

    On one ride, Contador climbed to the summit of the Bola del Mondo, the highest point in the Sierra de Madrid at 2247 metres.

    “I'm very happy with the work we have done both myself and all my teammates. I want to thank all the members of the team for the great work they have done,” Contador said.

    The nine riders in the Astana Tour de France team are: Alberto Contador (Spa), Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz),...

  • Jalabert changes French World Championship selection procedure

    Laurent Jalabert in the car.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2010, 13:14 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Former rider talks tough after poor results in 2009

    Following last year’s poor showing during his first year as head of the French national team, Laurent Jalabert has announced a radical change to the way he will prepare and select rider for the world championships in Australia.

    “We have the same constraints as last year”, Jalabert said, hinting at the difficulties of dealing with the major French professional teams and the current UCI world rankings.

    France has slipped to 11th place and being outside the top ten means the French risk having only six riders for the men's professional road race yet again this year. Only the top ten teams get nine places.

    France has a slim chance of overtaking Slovenia and Russia in the Tour de France and the Clasica San Sebastian, the final two ranking races, but Luxemburg and the Netherlands are also very likely to score more points than France in July and jump past them.

    France is suffering because only the points from the first five riders in the rankings are counted and this does not reflect the strength in depth of the French peloton. More worryingly, the current two highest ranked Frenchman, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Jérôme Coppel, will not take part in the Tour de France and so will not be able to score additional points.

    Vuelta vital for selection

    Last year, Jalabert announced a pre-selection of 16 riders just after the Tour de France. The final six and the reserve were chosen in mid-September.

    “This time, all the French riders with a cycling licence will be pre-selected at the time we have to send the entries to the UCI”, said Jalabert after realising he missed some riders on form in the late season opportunities after Anthony Roux won a stage at the Vuelta a España.

    Jalabert has also noticed that 15 of the top 20 at last year's World Championships rode the Vuelta.

    “This is the ideal preparation”, he said....

  • Andersen quits Saxo Bank to create Luxembourg team with Schlecks

    CSC directors Scott Sunderland, Kim Andersen and Alain Gallopin
    Article published:
    June 27, 2010, 14:25 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    New ProTour team being created for 2011

    Directeur sportif Kim Andersen has left Team Saxo Bank to work on creating a new ProTour team for 2011 in Luxembourg that is set to be captained by Fränk and Andy Schleck.

    There have been rumours that the Schleck brothers were keen to create their own team ever since Saxo Bank announced it would end it's sponsorship this year. So far team owner Bjarne Riis has failed to secure new backing for his team and is now set to lose his two Tour de France contenders. 

    The new Luxembourg team has the support of politicians and strategic businesses in Luxembourg. Cyclingnews understand that former Astana team manager Marc Biver is no longer involved in the creation of the team. However Brian Nygaard, the former press officer with Saxo Bank and until recently with Team Sky, is expected to become team manager.

    On Sunday morning, Danish broadcaster TV2 Sport reported that Riis had fired Andersen. “That's not quite right and it's not entirely wrong,” Riis said, adding that Saxo Bank would release a statement later on Sunday.

    However Andersen told the broadcaster in a telephone interview from Luxembourg that his contract with the team has been terminated. He confirmed the plans for the Luxembourg team.

    “I do not see this as a firing. I've had some wonderful years and have learned a lot and had a good position. And it's a big leap to say farewell to the team but I've got a chance you only get once in life and I have to take it, " Andersen said.

    “We have made an agreement to stop now. It is clear that in that I'm working on a new project, so it's hard to have time for much else. I fully understand Bjarne, and there are no bad feelings.”

    “We will work on a new project here in Luxembourg. It's me and Brian Nygaard working on a ProTour team, but it is new and we have a lot to see, so when we have something more specific, we will report on it,” he said.

  • Riis admits that Schlecks will join new Luxembourg team

    Saxo Bank teammates Jakob Fuglsang and Andy Schleck sign in.
    Article published:
    June 27, 2010, 21:25 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Nygaard confirms ambitions of new team for 2011

    Bjarne Riis has conceded that both Frank and Andy Schleck will leave his team at the end of the season to join a new team in Luxembourg being created by his former directeur sportif Kim Andersen and former press officer Brian Nygaard.

    On Sunday morning Andersen confirmed that he has been released by Riis and will not work with the Saxo Bank team at this year's Tour de France. Nygaard also recently left Team Sky where he had been head of communications.

    Nygaard confirmed the creation of what he hopes will be a major new team in 2011 to Cyclingnews and issued a statement. The team is expected to apply for UCI ProTour licence.

    "The economic foundation for the team for next year is in place and now that I have hired Kim Andersen as senior director of sports, the sports management is also as strong as it can be. We may not yet say anything concrete about the sponsors or riders who will ride for our new team," Nygaard said in the statement.

    Andersen raced as a professional in the eighties, winning a stage in the 1983 Tour de France and wearing the yellow jersey for six days. He failed multiple anti-doping tests and was banned from competition before retiring in 1992.

    He said in the statement: "It is clear that we are now going out and get riders to our new teams. It is also clear that our ambition is to reach deals with some of the world's best riders because we are very determined to create a team that is at the very top of the cycling sport. I have therefore also confirmed to several media that we are interested in the best riders in world, but I cannot say anything more specific at this time."

    Riis emotional about split

    Riis confirmed that he had ended Andersen's contract after it became apparent he was working on the Luxembourg project while still being employed by Riis' Saxo Bank team. He also expects Jakob Fuglsang to join the Schlecks in the new Luxembourg team.


  • French squads name Tour de France teams

    Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ) won the race
    Article published:
    June 27, 2010, 22:04 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    First Tour start for Australian Wesley Sulzberger

    Australia's Wesley Sulzberger will make his debut in the Tour de France alongside Anthony Roux, another newcomer on the Française des Jeux line-up for the Tour de France, which starts in Rotterdam on July 3rd next week.

    Team manager selected Christophe Le Mével and Sandy Casar as GC riders – they finished 10th and 11th last year – with the support of Jérémy Roy, Benoît Vaugrenard, Rémy Di Gregorio, Matthieu Ladagnous and Anthony Geslin who was the last man to make the team. He was in competition with sprinters Yauheni Hutarovitch and Sébastien Chavanel. Therefore, Sulzberger will be the only non-French rider on the team.

    "I'm very excited to ride the Tour for the first time, this was my main goal this year," said the Tasmanian who will be the only beginner among the record-setting eleven Australians on the start line in Rotterdam. Previously the largest contingent from down under was ten in 2005.

    Cofidis selected Giro d'Italia stage 17 winner Damien Monier as their ninth man with Rémi Pauriol, Samuel Dumoulin, Stéphane Augé, Julien El Farès, Christophe Kern, Sébastien Minard, Amaël Moinard and Rein Taarämae. The Estonian will also be the only foreigner and his debut in the Tour is also highly expected.

    AG2R-La Mondiale has selected five riders after the French championship: Nicolas Roche, Christophe Riblon, John Gadret, David Le Lay and Rinaldo Nocentini. The Italian who had the yellow jersey for five days last year came 8th in his national championship on Saturday. He's back on time for the Tour after a bad early season injury.

    Team manager Vincent Lavenu warned that a big surprise could be expected in the final four names. Former yellow jersey and stage winner Cyril Dessel will miss out indeed. Martin Elmiger has made the cut after becoming Swiss champion today. The remaining spots have been allocated to Maxime...

  • HTC-Columbia has strong Bak up plan

    Lars Bak (HTC-Columbia) came in third.
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 11:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Silver medalist Lars Bak remains a reserve for Tour squad

    After taking second in yesterday's Danish national championship road race, Lars Ytting Bak says he's disappointed but understanding of his status as HTC-Columbia's back up rider for the Tour de France.

    The former Saxo Bank rider beat the likes of former teammates Chris Anker Sørensen, Matti Breschel and Frank Høj in the 199km race but will be sitting on the sidelines when La Grande Boucle starts in Rotterdam this weekend - unless mitigating circumstances demand a call up for the Dane.

    "I've been told that I'm first reserve if someone other than Cavendish becomes injured or ill. I'd love to ride [the Tour]," Bak told after the national title race.

    "I am obviously very disappointed not to ride the Tour. I have been told that I was good enough but I cannot do something," Bak added, stressing that regardless of missing the Tour he's enjoying his time at HTC-Columbia.

    While being superflous to the team's needs in France, Bak knows why he wasn't taken as part of Mark Cavendish's leadout train as the British sprinter chases more stage wins after his incredible tally of six in last year's edition.

    He's also remaining focused on the second half of the season, a time during which he believes he can shine, particularly in the Australian sunshine.

    "Unfortunately I have only 14 days racing on my calendar this year. I hope to be a reserve for the Vuelta however, and will also be happy to ride the world championships in Melbourne," he explained.

  • Talansky signs with Garmin-Transitions for three

    Andrew Talansky (California Giant)
    Article published:
    June 28, 2010, 11:22 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Newly-crowned TT champ gets his rewards

    Recently-crowned US Under 23 time trial champion Andrew Talansky has signed a three-year contract with ProTour team Garmin-Transitions beginning in 2011.

    Before turning pro, the Florida native hopes to cap off his final year as an amateur racer with victories at the Tour de l'Avenir held in early September in France and the U23 road race at the UCI World Championships held from September 28 to October 3 in Melbourne, Australia.

    "I wasn't surprised but very happy with a three-year contract because it is a feeling of faith from them that they are finding riders that they believe in and helping them develop," said Talansky. "Three years signifies their commitment to helping me reach my full potential."

    After an unsettling season last year with the Italian team Amore & Vita, Talansky joined the California Giant squad and made the necessary changes to this program to yield strong results in the US during 2010.

    "Last year there wasn't a single result that I got that would help secure a spot on a ProTour team," Talansky continued. "It wasn't the best team situation and I got sick early on and never found the form I was looking for."

    "This year, I sat down to see what I needed to do differently and put it all into place," he explained. "I was very positive and being with Cal Giant with such a good environment put me in a good place mentally. Add that to good physical fitness and it was a good combination."

    Talansky's consistent results turned heads at the Tour of the Gila held in April in Silver City, New Mexico. He placed fifth in the opening Mogollon Road Race, maintained sixth place overall and won the Best Young Rider classification by the end of the five-day race.

    His results were more significant given the participation of six ProTour riders, including RadioShack's seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Jason McCartney along with Garmin-Transition's Dave Zabriskie, Tom...