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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 16, 2009

Date published:
November 16, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Damiani declares that Silence-Lotto can improve

    Silence-Lotto's Roberto Damiani with Cadel Evans and Christophe Brandt, l
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 0:12 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Cadels’ worlds and Gilbert’s autumn obvious highlights in ‘09

     After a testing 2009, Silence-Lotto directeur sportif Roberto Damiani has indicated that despite the challenges throughout the year, a number of positives came out of this past season and the Belgian squad should be optimistic heading into 2010.

    Whilst the team was criticised for its poor showing in the first half of the year, Damiani cited the unearthing of Jurgen Van Den Broeck as a Tour contender, Cadel Evans’ ride at the world championships and Philippe Gilbert’s run of four consecutive victories in the autumn as the major achievements of a squad that underwent an overhaul of sorts during 2009.

    “Cadel had a big hand in breaking the ice and winning in Sassuolo, but as our results were not up to expectations, we must not forget that a rider like Philippe Gilbert, however, collected a third place at Flanders, a fourth at Amstel and Liège, in addition to his splendid victory in Anagni, during the Giro d'Italia,” Damiani told Italian website velobike. “I think it would be very wise not to criticise, or at least take into consideration the other placings while emphasising the meaning of the wins."

    While Silence-Lotto’s spring campaign was anything but spectacular, when the team arrived at the Tour de France the prognosis looked better, although after the team time trial any hope of contending for overall honours had gone. Instead the focus shifted to the emergence of a future Tour squad leader, Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

    The young Belgian finished 15th overall and gave Damiani cause for optimism from a race that was largely forgettable. "I would say that went pretty well. He focused his season on the Tour de France and in my opinion [he] was very good,” said Damiani. “He took 15th place in the standings and taking into account his fall in the time trial, I would say he has done miracles. We’ll hear about him in the future, I'm sure."

    Gaps in the...

  • Ginn not overplaying Oceania success

    Ginn Drew, pictured at the Beijing Olympic Games with Free Duncan, claimed gold at the Athens games in the Men's Pair rowing event.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 2:51 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Olympic rower’s cycling foray taking shape

    Olympic rowing gold medallist Drew Ginn says he’s uncomfortable by the attention he’s received after winning last week’s Oceania Time Trial Championship in Invercargill, New Zealand. The race was Ginn’s first international cycling race since the athlete started investigating his options in the sport three months ago.

    “I have proved nothing yet, I have shown no real potential, and I am fully aware that any new person coming into a new world of competition has to be prepared for some big reality checks,” Ginn wrote on his website.

    Under 23 riders Michael Matthews (Australia), who also won Sunday’s road race which Ginn didn’t contest, and Alex McGregor (New Zealand) both posted faster times than Ginn over the 40km time trial. Logan Hutchings (New Zealand) finished second in the elite men's standings, 1:35 minutes behind, while Simon Croom (New Zealand) took third.

    “This has been a weird thing to experience; I have done quite a few interviews in the last two days since the time trial and the emphasis being placed on the Oceania Champs by the media makes me feel uncomfortable,” admitted Ginn. “Reason being is that the number of competitors and the simple fact that two guys went faster than me in the U23 category.

    “It was great to get the first step under my belt but how significant it is is something I am wary of, particularly in regards to a predictor of future performances,” he said.

    Ginn is taking each day of his foray into cycling as it comes, but is thankful for the support he’s been given by Malvern Star and the Victorian Institute of Sport. Ginn is being advised and coached by Scott McGrory and Jonathan Hall.

    “This cycling project is continuing to take shape,” said Ginn. “What the end result, outcome or experience will be is less important to me at this stage. What I am interested in is the process, people,...

  • Decision time nigh on Astana’s ProTour status

    Alberto Contador on the podium.
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 5:21 GMT
    Cycling News

    Meeting may decide Contador’s future with Kazakh squad

     A delegation of five Astana representatives will today meet with the UCI to address the ongoing issue of the team’s ProTour licence in 2010. A decision is expected on November 20 and Het Nieuwsblad reports that the party aims to sure up the squad’s licence arrangements in an attempt to maintain the services of Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.

    If Alexandre Vinokourov’s outfit fails to organise the requisite financial and structural arrangements ahead of the decision, the likelihood of Contador seeking a contract elsewhere becomes a virtual inevitability. Lingering doubts remain about Astana’s readiness to pass the standards set by cycling’s governing body, something that has dogged the team all year.

    In 2009, continual questions have been asked of Astana’s ability to meet the requirements for a ProTour team, with several near misses and last-minute bailouts for the Kazakh squad, which was by far the strongest outfit at this year’s Tour de France.

    Since that dominant Tour performance, Astana’s name has been sullied somewhat with notable characters such Johan Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong and Andreas Klöden exiting the team during the year to headline the fledgling RadioShack ProTour outfit, in addition to Vinokourov’s return late in the season.

    This has led to constant speculation over Contador’s future, with claims and counter-claims linking the Spaniard to big-dollar deals with the likes of Quick Step, Garmin-Slipstream or Caisse d’Epargne. In recent weeks Patrick Lefevere’s squad has firmed as a possible destination for the two-time Tour champion, although Contador’s brother and manager Fran stated last week his sibling would remain at Astana.

  • Contador signs individual contract with Specialized

    Alberto Contador
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 9:57 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Basso and Contador to join forces?

    Alberto Contador and Team Astana seem to be moving closer to a deal for the 2010 season. The two-time Tour de France winner has reportedly signed a contract to ride Specialized bikes in the coming season, and it appears that the Kazakh team will follow suit. In addition, there are indications that Contador may stay with the team for more than one additional year, with Ivan Basso rumoured to be on his way to the team too.

    La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Contador signed a contract for 700,000 Euros to ride the American company's bikes. However despite it being an individual deal, they indicate that the team will also sign, having used Trek bikes this year. Specialized provides bikes to Quick Step and Saxo Bank.

    Yet Contador's future at the team is still far from certain, with Astana still without a ProTour licence for 2010. The International Cycling Union (UCI) is expected to announce its decision on the team's licence this coming Friday. However Fran Contador, Alberto’s brother and manager has said Contador could stay with the team for longer than one year. 

    In another twist in what's been one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas of the year, La Gazzetta dello Sport also state that Contador is working on bringing Ivan Basso to the team. Basso, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and served a two-year doping-related suspension for his involvement with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes, is under contract to Liquigas for the 2010 season. He would be available to join Contador at Astana in 2011.

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  • Chris Anker Sørensen warned for missing doping test

    Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 10:37 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Danish rider publicises own case to show risks

    Chris Anker Sørensen of Team Saxo Bank received an official warning from Anti Doping Danmark this summer for not being available for an out-of-competition doping control. The 25-year-old publicised the incident in his book Debutante's Diary, which is being published this week.

    He said that after a race at the end of July in Kjellerup, Denmark, he spent the night in the town instead of returning to his parents' house as planned. Anti Doping Danmark showed up at the family home the next morning to conduct an unannounced out-of-competition doping control, and found that the rider was not there, though he had indicated on his whereabouts form that he would be.

    “I have chosen to tell stories about my drug warning because I have nothing to hide,” Sørensen told the Danish newspaper Berlingkse Tidende. “I have great confidence that people can distinguish my case from a man like Michael Rasmussen.” Rasmussen was suspended two years for lying about his whereabouts in 2007.

    He noted that “It's a way to show how easy it can go wrong, and how careful you must be to comply with schedules and agreements not to risk getting a warning if the anti-doping controllers cannot find you at a given address."

    The whereabouts requirement is extremely time consuming, Sørensen acknowledged. “Every day I check whether things are as they should be. You can easily be afraid of writing something wrong or missing something.”

    Sørensen, who crowned his season by winning the Japan Cup last month, confessed his failure to team boss Bjarne Riis. “Bjarne knows it was a mistake, so he took it gracefully. I don't think I will have any further problems.”

    Riders may receive two warnings in an 18-month period for missing out-of-competition doping controls. If they receive a...

  • Contentpolis-Ampo back in 2010, but under new name

    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 11:48 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team deny reports of financial problems, delays attributed to scheduling issues

    The Spanish Professional Continental Team Contentpolis-Ampo has denied rumours of financial problems and stated, “We will be on the roads in 2010.” The team had received an extension to complete its submission of licensing documentation with the International Cycling Union (UCI), which expired today.

    “There is only a delay in delivery of documentation to the UCI," the team said in a statement issued over the weekend. The delay is due to “scheduling problems, but that will be solved in the next few hours and we will respect, to the greatest extent possible, the time limits.”

    The team said that is continuation in 2010 is guaranteed by "a communion of interests" which includes the Government of Murcia, the sports director-general of the Municipality of Murcia, Miguel Cáscales, Councilman Sports and AMPO Co-operative Society.

    However, the team may well have a new name in the new season, as Contentpolis is leaving as a sponsor after two years. The region and city of Murcia are expected to talk over as name sponsor.

    Contentpolis made its Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta a España this year. It hopes to again receive wild card status from the UCI for 2010, which would enable it to potentially participate in major races, including the three Grand Tours.

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  • Sastre to give full attention to Tour in 2010

    Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 12:23 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    2008 Tour winner also responds to comments from Andy Schleck

    Carlos Sastre has acknowledged that his planning for the 2009 season went awry, saying he started the defence of his Tour de France title feeling “exhausted”. Sastre started the Tour after previously winning two stages and finishing fourth at the Giro d’Italia.

    “When I reached the Tour I was exhausted and I don’t want to make that same error in planning again,” Sastre said during a PR appearance for Ford over the weekend at Madrid’s Jarama motor-racing circuit with Finnish rally driver Mikko Hirvoven.

    “I want to rediscover the spark that I was lacking this year. Although I still haven’t worked out what races I’m going to be riding in 2010, it’s already clear in my mind that this coming season is going to be very different to the one that’s just finished.”

    Sastre admitted that he is still likely to ride two major tours during 2010, but hasn’t yet decided on whether he will be adding the Giro or the Vuelta to his definite appearance at the Tour. “The Tour de France has been my race and I want to perform well in it again. The only thing that I am certain of is that I will do the Tour,” said the 34-year-old Spaniard.

    Sastre said he will wait until the presentation of the Vuelta on December 16 and to hear about his Cervélo team’s objectives for next season before making a commitment between the Giro and the Vuelta. However, he refused to put the blame for his poor showing at the Tour on his strong ride at the Giro just weeks beforehand. “The route of the Giro was hard, but during my career I’ve always done two major tours [each year] and been at a good level. But a lot of circumstances combined and I wasn’t able to recover and I’ve learned from that,” he commented.

    Sastre also responded to comments made by Andy Schleck in the Spanish press a couple of weeks ago. Speaking to El...

  • Dutch Food Valley Classic moved to August

    The 2009 Dutch Food Classic Podium: Graeme Brown (2nd, Rabobank), Kenny van Hummel (1st, Skil-Shimano) and Steven De Jongh (3rd, Quick Step)
    Article published:
    November 16, 2009, 12:47 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Date change designed to attract more ProTour teams

    The organisers of the Dutch Food Valley Classic have confirmed that the race has moved from May to August for 2010 in order to attract a higher quality field for the International Cycling Union (UCI) 1.HC ranked event.

    Formerly known as the Veenendaal-Veenendaal, race organisers told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that the date change was part of an effort to attract more top-level teams.

    "We strived for years to attract a field of at least ten ProTour teams, but usually we have six or seven scratched from the event," said organiser Job van Schuppen. "If another date is needed to achieve our goal, then that's what we have to do."

    The 2009 edition of the Dutch Food Valley Classic was won by Skil-Shimano's Kenny van Hummel, ahead of Rabobank's Graeme Brown. Brown's squad was joined by three other ProTour teams in the race line-up: Quick Step, Milram, Silence-Lotto.

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