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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 30, 2009

Date published:
November 30, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Roberts makes a welcome return to the ProTour

    Australia rider Luke Roberts is popular in Germany.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 0:54 GMT
    Cycling News

    Local boy to ride in home event for Team Milram

    After two years in the professional wilderness, Australian rider Luke Roberts will return to the ProTour with Team Milram at January's Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. Born and raised in the South Australian capital, Roberts signed for the German squad in September, having last competed in the ProTour with Team CSC during the 2007 season.

    Roberts has spent the past two seasons with German team Kuota Senges (known as Kuota-Indeland in 2009), having ridden for Bjarne Riis' outfit for the 2005, '06 and '07 seasons, where he completed the 2005 edition of the Tour de France.

    His crowning achivement was undoubtedly a gold medal in the team pursuit at the Athens Olympics, although he was plagued by injury during the 2006 and '07 seasons and found it difficult to maintain a consistent program.

    His return to form coincided with a clean bill of health and last year he began to re-emerge into the consciousness of cycling fans; in 2008 and '09 he was able to successfully combine a track and road program and featured in several six-day events, winning the Grenoble Six Day in November and taking a top 10 overall at the Tour des Pyrénées - Vuelta a los Pirineos in France during August.

    The affable Australian will join German riders Robert Förster, Björn Schröder, Markus Fothen, Artur Gajek and Thomas Rohregger plus Dutch speedster Wim Stroetinga in a balanced team managed by Vittoria Algeri for the opening round of the ProTour.

    "While it's great to have the international cycling superstars racing in Adelaide, it is always nice to welcome home one of our own," said fellow South Australian and race organiser, Mike Turtur via press release.

    "Milram has selected a team with specialists in all areas," added Turtur. "[Robert] Förster has had stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España and will be one to watch vying for Jayco Sprint points," he said. "As a strong...

  • Hosking prepares for life at Columbia-HTC

    Chloe Hosking also won the sprinter's title at Chongming Island.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 3:58 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Young Australian the latest recruit from Down Under

    Young Australian rider Chloe Hosking is the latest talent from Down Under making it into the ranks of the Columbia-HTC 'superteam'. Hailing from the national capital of Canberra, the 19-year-old impressed in 2009 and caught the eye of Bob Stapleton and his management team, including Kristy Scrymgeour, a former national champion and Team Saturn professional.

    Hosking's ability at the pointy end of a race has been the hallmark of her fledgling career and the reason she was offered a one-year contract riding alongside the likes of Ina Teutenberg, Judith Arndt and fellow Australian Kate Bates. A perfect example of the team's focus on complete rider development, Hosking is also undertaking tertiary study in media whilst managing her transition into the professional ranks.

    The young sprinter will ride the Ladies Tour of Qatar in January next year before heading to the Redlands stage race and "possibly a couple of World Cup rounds". It's exciting times for the confident youngster, who seems to have taken a whirlwind 2009 all in her stride.

    Cyclingnews: How did the ride with Columbia-HTC come about?

    Chloe Hosking: I got an email from Kristy Scrymgeour saying that she'd been watching my results and would be really interested in having a chat. I was so excited.

    It just went from there, really… a couple of emails back and forth before they offered me a stagiaire position for the Giro della Toscana in late September. I rode that and at the end they had a few talks with the national coach; obviously they were concerned about how young I am but they offered me a one-year contract. I'll be heading to a training camp straight after nationals before riding the Ladies Tour of Qatar.

    CN: Is the prospect of riding against the world's best daunting?

    CH: It's not really daunting. I spent all year riding...

  • Washington DC continues its push for Giro d'Italia start

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) after winning the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey in 2008
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 4:40 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Experienced team determined to make American dream happen

    The 2012 Giro d'Italia Working Group continues to collaborate with Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport on bringing the Italian Grand Tour to the US capital of Washington DC in the future.

    "Once it was determined there was interest on both sides, we've had exploratory discussions regarding the viability and logistics," said Robin Morton, representative of the 2012 Giro d'Italia Working Group. "This idea has generated a lot of buzz and interest and we are continuing to meet with both RCS and the DC Agencies. We are working as the facilitators but the ultimate decision rests with RCS."

    Morton is the CEO of g4 Productions, an event management company owned by three women including Alice Armstrong and Kristen Reiss. The three women parted ways with well-known management company Threshold Sports to combine their years of event planning experience and launched g4 Productions in 2005.

    Morton's roots in professional cycling reach as far back as the mid 1980s when she managed the US-based professional men's team Gianni Motta Linea MD. She was the first female to manage a men's professional racing team and was responsible for taking the first American team to the Giro d'Italia in 1984. It was there that she met current director of the Giro d'Italia for RCS Sports, Angelo Zomengan, who was a journalist for Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport at the time.

    "He reached out to me after seeing the PR and photos for the 2008 ING Capital Criterium on the g4 Productions website," said Morton. "I contacted Mark Sommers, who hired g4 to handle logistics for that event. I knew Mark was very active in the DC cycling community and has access to Mayor Adrian Fenty."

    Sommers, promoter of the ING Capital Criterium, joined forces with g4 Productions and is now the chair of the newly formed 2012 Giro d'Italia Working Group. They are heavily involved in the planning process of the proposed Giro prologue and stage one circuit races to be...

  • Van den Broeck signs new contract with Silence-Lotto

    Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence - Lotto)
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 10:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian confident he can move out of Cadel Evans' shadow

    Jurgen Van den Broeck has re-signed with Silence-Lotto and will remain with the team until the end of 2011. The 26-year-old told the Gazet van Antwerpen that with the departure of Cadel Evans for BMC he was confident he can now assume a leadership role within the team.

    Van den Broeck finished 15th overall at the 2009 Tour de France, 15 places higher than the team's designated leader, Evans. The Belgian's performance in France was enough for his team, which will be known as Omega Pharma-Lotto in 2010, to replace his current contract with the new, more lucrative deal.

    "I think my performance in the Tour has proven that I can handle the pressure, even when I was racing in Evans' shadow," he said. "It will require me to take more responsibility and entail more stress, but I'll be 27 soon; it's an appropriate age to take the leadership."

    Regarded as one of Belgium's best stage-race hopes, Van den Broeck's result at the Tour de France this season has served as confirmation of his Grand Tour ability. He recorded a 7th place finish overall at the 2008 Giro d'Italia and has had top-ten classification results at the Tours of Benelux and Denmark.

    A professional since 2003, Van den Broeck began his career at Quick Step, before three seasons with Discovery Channel.  He has ridden with Silence-Lotto since 2007, where he says he is now ready to move his career to the next level.

    "I feel at home with the team," said Van den Broeck. "They give me the necessary freedom in my preparation. I didn't hesitate in accepting the new proposal put forward to me by the team."

    Van den Broeck looks likely to divide leadership responsibilities with Dani Moreno, who was signed by the team from Caisse d'Epargne to support Cadel Evans' objectives. The Spaniard last week expressed his expectation that the departure of the Australian would allow him to assume a more senior role within the squad.

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  • Valverde to concentrate on Tour de France in 2010

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was one of the stars of the show.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 10:27 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Vuelta title defence not yet decided for Caisse leader

    Alejandro Valverde will focus on the Tour de France in 2010 but has not yet decided on whether he will defend his victory in the Vuelta a España.

    Speaking at the Criterium Ciudad de Jaén over the weekend, the Caisse d'Epargne rider said that, "Whenever I face a test, I do so with the maximum effort, and the Tour de France is a race with great international prestige. In principle I hope to challenge," he told Spanish news agency EFE.

    As for the Vuelta, his participation there will depend on, "how the season develops."

    The main barrier to riding the Tour in 2010 may be the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Earlier this year the Spaniard was given a two-year suspension by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI). The ban, based on his alleged connection to Operacion Puerto, applies only to races in Italy. He has appealed the ban to the CAS, with the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-doping Agency also filing a separate case which asks that the ban be extended worldwide.

    Valverde's case with the CAS was scheduled for November 16, but it was delayed until an unspecified date later this year, with a final decision not expected until sometime in 2010.

    Valverde first rode the Tour in 2005, when he joined Caisse d'Epargne. He won a stage, out-sprinting Lance Armstrong at the mountaintop finish in in Courcheval. He was in fifth place overall and leading the best young rider ranking when a knee injury forced him out during stage 13.

    He entered the 2006 Tour as a favourite however  he crashed in the third stage and had to withdraw with a broken collarbone.

    Valverde made it through the 2007 Tour without injury. Again considered a favourite, he was in second place overall going into the 13th stage time trial, where he put in a disastrous performance. He plummeted to 11th, 5:48 down. Valverde was able to move back up to sixth place and finish the Tour for the first time, but he...

  • Cavendish happy to stay at Columbia-HTC

    Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) happy with his teammates after the win.
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 11:05 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Manxman confident of continued success, despite Hincapie's departure

    Mark Cavendish remains convinced that his current team, Columbia-HTC, is in the best environment for continued sprint success. The 24-year-old says that although he aware of his value to rival squads, he is content with his position at the US-based outfit.

    “I'm in the best position at Team Columbia,” he told The Times newspaper. “I'm not looking for a contract. I want to win and I want to be in the best place to do that, and that's Columbia.”

    His name had been mentioned in connection with the newly-formed Team Sky, but Cavendish admitted that concrete interest from the British ProTour squad had never materialised. “If Sky's the best team in five years, I'll be at Sky. If RadioShack is the best team, I'll be at RadioShack. I'm going to get paid the same wherever. But there was never a formal offer made to me by Sky.”

    Cavendish dominated the sprint scene in 2009, with 23 wins. Those wins included Milano-Sanremo, as well as three individual stage wins in the Giro d'Italia, six stages in the Tour de France, and two stages each in the Tour of Qatar, Tour of California, Driedaagse de Panne, Tour de Suisse, and Tour of Missouri.

    The Briton made his name as a sprinter in 2008 with, among others, four Tour de France stage wins. But he cemented his reputation with his stunning win in this year's Milano-Sanremo, and has highlighted that race as an example of why he wants to stay with his current team.

    “At Columbia I have a team built around me. That's how we won Milano-Sanremo – we had eight guys riding just for me.”

    One of those eight 'guys' was George Hincapie, who worked in his service not only at Milano-Sanremo, but in many other races. Hincapie is leaving the team for BMC Racing Team in 2010. In spite of the American's departure, Cavendish is confident that he will have the support required to retain his position as the peloton's foremost...

  • Ryder Hesjedal grows in stature at Garmin

    Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Slipstream)
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 12:17 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Canadian to target Tirreno-Adriatico, Ardennes Classics

    Ryder Hesjedal will head into 2010 with greater confidence after a breakthrough season which saw him take a stage of the Vuelta a España and impressive results at several high profile races. The 28-year-old is hoping to build on this success with a more determined and direct approach to Tirreno-Adriatico and the Ardennes Classics next year.

    The Canadian epitomised his Garmin’s new found appetite for success in 2009 as he contributed to the squad's tally of post-Tour de France victories. Hesjedal, David Millar and Tyler Farrar all recorded stage wins at the Vuelta, while David Zabriskie took overall victory at the Tour of Missouri and Farrar also claimed his first monument, the Vattenfall Cyclassics.

    "Based on the roster, Garmin will be looking at me for Tirreno-Adriatico and the Ardennes Classics next season. I’ll be there trying to perform there again and the team is confident in that," Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.

    Currently training in Hawaii, where he’ll be joined by team leader Christian Vande Velde in the coming days, Hesjedal was quick to put his progression into context. "I see 2008 and 2009 as a pretty solid two year run. It was about keeping momentum going and I did that really well from the start of 2008 until the Worlds this year. Okay, I was running on fumes at the end, but it was solid stint," the Canadian said.

    Hesjedal is almost a throw back to riders from an older generation, racing competitively from the start of the year right through until the final events of the season and, unlike many of today’s stars, he doesn’t focus on one event. However, in 2010 Hesjedal will alter his programme slightly and will not begin competition until February. The change has been made in order to peak for Tirreno-Adriatico, where he finished eighth in March this year, and then Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he placed 11th, six weeks later.

    "I don’t want to race as...

  • Ben Swift to stay with Katusha in 2010

    Ben Swift (Katusha)
    Article published:
    November 30, 2009, 13:37 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Russian team denies young Swift is leaving

    Another British rider has slipped through Team Sky's fingers and will be staying with his current squad for another year, as Team Katusha announced on Monday that Ben Swift would continue to ride for them.

    "Ben Swift will ride for Katusha until the end of 2010," a team representative told Cyclingnews. "He signed a regular contract with us and he has to respect it."

    The 22-year-old won a stage of the Tour of Britain this season, and had a number of top ten finishes. He rode the Giro d'Italia this year and finished third in the second stage.

    The newly-formed Team Sky has said that it wants to hire British riders, but several big names have been unavailable due to existing contracts. Sprinter Mark Cavendish explained on Monday why he was staying with Team Columbia-HTC and said he had never received an offer from Sky.

    Sky team principal David Brailsford has made no secret that he wants to sign Tour de France fourth-place finisher Bradley Wiggins in the past. However, Wiggins has a contract through the 2010 season with Garmin-Slipstream.