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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 29, 2010

Date published:
November 29, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Contador expected to keep a low profile at Saxo Bank camp

    Alberto Contador (Astana) on the road to Paris
    Article published:
    November 27, 2010, 19:09 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Riis says the press not welcome in Fuertaventura

    Alberto Contador is expected to travel to Fuertaventura in the Spanish Canary Islands on Sunday to meet up with his new Saxo Bank-SunGard teammates but team owner Bjarne Riis has made it clear the press will not be welcome as the team works behind closed doors in preparation for the 2011 season.

    “The hotel will not be a fortress closed to everyone outside the team,” Riis reportedly told Spanish newspaper El Pais. “It won’t a public event but a private gathering for internal team purposes, with a huge series of different activities that will keep us all very busy. Rider will not have time to speak to journalists and of course there will be no press conference.”

    The two-week camp at the Playitas resort will be the first time the riders come together since Contador’s positive test for Clenbuterol was confirmed at the end of September. Many of the riders and staff in this year’s Saxo Bank team have moved to the new Luxembourg Cycling Project and Riis has been forced to rebuild his squad, while Contador fights to clear his name.

    Contador submitted his defence documents to the Competition Committee of the Spanish Cycling Federation on Friday morning and gave an interview to Spanish television. He again said he may quit the sport if he is given a two-year ban but hoped the disciplinary process in Spain may be over by the New Year. However, the case could take much longer if it then goes to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Riis is in regular contact with Contador but admitted it is impossible to draw up Contador’s race programme because he does not know if the three-time Tour de France winner will allowed to race in 2011.

    "I speak regularly with Contador. He seems okay, relaxed and is training. Everything seems normal, but of course, if we try to draw up a calendar of events for next year, it is impossible," Riis...

  • Landis suggests that Clenbuterol is common in peloton

    Floyd Landis at the New Pathways for Pro Cycling conference in Australia
    Article published:
    November 28, 2010, 14:44 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Reiterates doping charges against Armstrong, claims UCI protects riders

    Floyd Landis has given his first major European television interview, reiterating his doping charges against Lance Armstrong and giving credence to the doping charges against Alberto Contador. He also claimed that the International Cycling Union (UCI) protects certain riders.

    Interviewed on the German state television channel ARD for the Sportschau show to be broadcast Sunday evening, Landis cast doubts on Contador, saying, “I know that riders have taken Clenbuterol. I think that the risk of taking Clenbuterol is higher now than it was earlier, when there weren't any training controls. Nevertheless, there is still the risk of being caught, even if it is rather small now, since the product has usually degraded when the control takes place.”

    "You don't know what risks people will take to win a race," Landis said.

    The Contador positive was not made public for two months and Landis said he wasn't surprised that the UCI was hesitant in making the announcement. “It is known in the peloton that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen or others responsible at the UCI over the last 20 years have protected some people and not others. That is the way they manipulate results and create stars.”

    He added, ""as far as the UCI is concerned, nothing about a cover up or taking a bribe or some kind of race results manipulation would surprise me."

    The UCI did not respond to the ARD's request for a comment but has always denied accusations of favouritism and manipulation.

    Doping at US Postal Service and Phonak

    Landis also spoke about his doping experiences during the time he rode for US Postal Service Team and Phonak.

    “It is easy to take anabolics, whether it is testosterone, growth hormone or something like that, and EPO, and to make a blood transfusions. You can easily do all of that without getting caught, and we routinely did it.”

    Lance Armstrong refused...

  • Vacansoleil-DCM list Mosquera in 2011 squad despite doping cloud

    The Vacansoleil team on stage for pre-race introduction.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2010, 15:00 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Dutch ProTeam squad stronger than ever after nine new signings

    Ezequiel Mosquera has been officially listed by Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team as part of its 25-rider squad for 2011 despite the doping case looming over the Spanish rider.

    Mosquera signed with the new ProTeam Dutch squad in September but it was subsequently announced that he had tested positive for masking agent hydroxyethyl starch (HES) during this year's Vuelta a España, where he finished second overall as part of the now defunct Xacobeo-Galicia outfit.

    The UCI confirmed earlier this month that the 34-year-old Spaniard remains under investigation however he has not been suspended. He remains eligible to race until the results of his B sample test have been announced.

    Pending the outcome of the investigation, Mosquera is one of nine new riders named as part of Vacansoleil's 2011 line-up. Stijn Devolder was one of the team's marquee signings, having joined the team from Quick Step. He joins Belgian compatriot Thomas de Gendt, Dutchmen Danny Keizer and Pim Ligthart (Netherlands), the Ukraine's Ruslan Pidgornyy, Russia's Maxim Belkov and Italy's Mirko Selvaggi as the new faces in the squad.

    They will join 16 members of the 2010 squad, including Riccardo Riccò, Bjorn Leukemans, Johnny Hoogerland and Romain Feillu. Feillu's brother, Brice, and 2010 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner Bobbie Traksel were the biggest-name departures from the squad, joining the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project and Pegasus Sports, respectively.

    Despite the wholesale changes in structure for the team, sports director Michel Cornelisse said he was pleased with how the riders were getting to know each other at the squad's first official meeting this week.

    "The riders are looking forward to the new season and I have great faith in this group," he said in a team statement. "The majority have been racing together for two years and the riders know what all they have to do for each other. The new riders already feel part...

  • Peter Sagan hit by Twitter identity theft

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas Doimo), the overall leader of the Tour de Romandie after stage 2.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2010, 18:35 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Liquigas rider denies criticising team doctors

    Liquigas rider Peter Sagan claims he has been a victim of Twitter identity theft and denied criticising the Italian team’s medical staff over his recent stomach problems.

    The 20 year-old Slovakian rider was one of the revelations of the 2010 season, winning two stages at Paris-Nice and two stages at the Amgen Tour of California.

    A two-part message on the ‘petersagannews’ Twitter feed published on Sunday said: “Sagan in dispute with Liqs doctors: "They think they have all the wisdom of the world. They try to change my eating habits by prescribing...” “ my body responds not well to." Sagan is still on antibiotics recovering from stomach problems that plagued the second half of his season.

    Another claimed Sagan would delay his start to the 2011 season: “Peter Sagan to skip Tour Down Under, his season will start in February.”

    The tweets were picked up and published by some media without verifying the authenticity of the messages. However via a statement from the team, Sagan denied there was a problem with the team and insisted the ‘Petersagannews’ twitter feed was an impersonator.
    “I’ve been caught up in a case of identity theft. The ‘petersagannews’ profile does not belong to me and is not managed by anyone I trust,” Sagan said in the press release.

    “I want to make it very clear that there is no problem between me and the medical staff of the team. I’ve got huge trust in Dr Roberto Corsetti, Dr Emilio Magni and Dr Antonio Angelucci. What was written on Twitter is totally false: I’ve never spoken about this and the words have been totally made up by somebody I don’t know.”

    Sagan insisted he was healthy and is set to join his teammates in the Italian Dolomites for the first Liquigas-Cannondale get together that begins on Monday. “I feel good and I’ve recovered after a tough...

  • Tech tidbits: Bont helps Pegasus fly high

    Bont is the shoe sponsor for Pegasus Sports.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2010, 23:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian shoe manufacturer gets on board with Pro Continental team

    Australian shoe brand Bont will supply shoes for the Pegasus Sports Professional Continental team in 2011. The company has been a technical partner of the Cervélo TestTeam over the past two seasons and continues a pro team association with Chris White's squad.

    Having released its new Vaypor line of footwear earlier this year, the company is hoping to gain more international exposure with its sponsorship of Pegasus Sports, which has signed the likes of Robbie McEwen, Svein Tuft, Robbie Hunter and Trent Lowe for 2011.

    Cervélo riders Thor Hushovd and Roger Hammond have been two of the most notable professionals using Bont over the past two years as the brand established itself in the market; with members of the Pegasus Sports team now riding the Vaypor, ultralight Zero and time-trial-specific Crono models next year, that progression is set to continue.

    Some riders in the Fly V Australia team have already been using Bont shoes during 2010 - the likes of Jai Crawford, Bernard Sulzberger and Ben Day will be returning as members of the Pegasus Sports squad in 2011 and could be seen in the footwear during the team's recent training camp in Noosa (pictured, right).

  • Freire refuses to rule out riding beyond 2011

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) celebrates his victory
    Article published:
    November 29, 2010, 10:19 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Spaniard earmarked for Giro d'Italia debut

    Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has said that he has still not ruled out riding beyond 2011. The three-time world champion had previously hinted at hanging up his wheels at the end of next season but says that he may continue for an extra year. He also admitted that he is keen to follow his traditional racing programme in 2011 rather than lead Rabobank at the Giro d'Italia.

    “In principle 2011 will be my last season, but depending on how I am, how I start the start the season and how I finish, I might do one more,” Freire told Marca. “Don’t rule anything out, because my level of performance this year was pretty good. If 2011 yields as much, I’d probably go on for another year.”

    Freire took his third Milan-San Remo in 2010 and bookended his campaign by winning Paris-Tours, a victory he says compensated in part for his failure to take a record fourth rainbow jersey: “Although I didn’t win the world championships, the win in Paris-Tours has given me a lot of encouragement.”

    The Spaniard is currently piecing together his racing schedule for the 2011 season and admitted that his preferred programme may not necessarily tally with that of his team. He is less than enthusiastic about the possibility of leading Rabobank at the Giro.

    “I would like to follow the same calendar as other years: the classics, Tour, Vuelta and Worlds,” Freire explained. “But this year the team wants to build around Gesink for the Tour and are proposing the Giro for me. I’ve never ridden it and it seems especially hard in 2011. In addition, I’ve never done well in May.”

    In the early part of the season, Freire is also keen to follow his tried and trusted build-up to the classics rather than travel to the Tour Down Under in Australia.

    “The team wants to start in Australia, but to me it seems a bit risky because I finished this season late and I want to be...

  • French federation president criticises ASO

    David Lappartient is one of the three candidates
    Article published:
    November 29, 2010, 10:50 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Lappartient hits out at domestic scene, but also foreign teams

    French cycling federation (FFC) president David Lappartient has spoken out against the organiser of the Tour de France (ASO) and pointed out problems in the management of pro cycling, whether in France or abroad. Speaking to newspaper Le Monde on November 25, Lappartient explained the current dispute between the FFC and ASO regarding the payment of insurance fees, as well as calling for team managers to face doping suspensions in the future.

    Lappartient had chosen not to attend the presentation of the 2011 Tour de France in October because of the disagreement. "We started negotiations with ASO to have the organisation contribute fairly to the federation's insurance contracts. At the moment, this is not the case. We started talking in October 2009 but since then, the process has stalled," said Lappartient, pointing at the higher accident risks at the Tour de France and the subsequent raise of insurance fees.

    "It's a fundamental problem because it's amateur cycling that is currently paying the insurance for the Tour de France," he explained, adding that a general rift had started dividing amateur and professional cycling. On one hand, the FFC has never had as many members as in 2010, and on the other, there will be only one French team automatically admitted to the UCI World Tour events next year, AG2R La Mondiale.

    "France is the 14th nation world-wide in men's road cycling. We had five teams in the ProTour four years ago, and we lost one every year. Pro cycling should help amateur cycling, because the Tour de France needs to prepare tomorrow's champions. It's been 25 years since a a Frenchman last won this race, we have never lived such a drought! But since finance has taken over the power, some subjects are not a priority," the FFC president continued. "There needs to be greater solidarity between the different families of cycling."

     "Within the Junior and the Espoir ranks, we have very good results: we are amongst...

  • Hembo says Rasmussen team in the works

    The controversial Michael Rasmussen pictured at the Tre Valli Varesine
    Article published:
    November 29, 2010, 11:05 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Danish watch designer says HTC-Highroad's Holm should keep quiet

    Michael Rasmussen's personal sponsor, Christina Hembo, has responded to criticism of her plans to build a racing team around the Danish rider. She rejected the doubts of HTC-Highroad sports director and fellow Dane Brian Holm.

    Rasmussen recently said he was “in a state of shock” after not receiving a contract with Team Saxo Bank-SunGard for the coming year.

    He has been riding as a one-man team under the name Christina Racing since July, and Hembo said that she would develop a full team with Rasmussen as captain and part owner.

    Holm called the plans a “marketing stunt”, dismissing her plans as unrealistic.

    "I thought Brian Holm was actually a sports director or sports commentator,”" Hembo told "I think maybe he should keep quiet.”

    She said that plans are already underway, with help from her husband Claus Hembo and Rasmussen.

    "We have had the pleasure of being with Michael Rasmussen in the last few days. We are working on the team and will soon be ready to announce something,” she said.

    "I've read that Brian Holm calls it a marketing stunt. But Holm will get smarter.”