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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 8, 2010

Date published:
November 8, 2010, 01:00
  • Andy Schleck hopes Contador can prove innocence

    Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck before the start.
    Article published:
    November 6, 2010, 15:38
    Barry Ryan

    Schleck brothers sign four-year deal with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Andy Schleck has said that he hopes Alberto Contador can prove his innocence in the wake of his positive test for Clenbuterol at the Tour de France. The Luxembourg rider also stated that he is firmly opposed to the night-time doping controls proposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) independent report on drug testing at the 2010 Tour de France.

    "I hope that Alberto is innocent and can prove it," Schleck told Deia. "I don't think he's done anything but it's not for me to decide. There are doctor and assessors who are handling all the information to decide on this case. The only thing I can say is that I hope he is innocent and that I believe in him. Nothing more."

    Schleck finished second behind Contador at July's Tour de France and stands to be named winner of the race should the Spaniard be sanctioned for a doping infraction. However, Schleck is adamant that he would not like to win the Tour in such a manner.

    "I didn't win the Tour on the bike, I didn't arrive in Paris in yellow," he said. "I don't know what they're going to decide, but for me, I'm still second in the Tour."

    Schleck led the Tour until the infamous stage to Port de Bales, when he slipped his chain and Contador jumped clear to move into yellow. While the outcome of Contador's adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol may ultimately diminish the relevance of the debate over the rights and wrongs of the affair, Schleck said that it is a moment that he will always remember.

    "I forgave Alberto, but I can never forget what happened," Schleck said. "This is one of those situations that you don't forget. If you come to me and apologise to me for something you've done, I'll tell you ‘OK, that's alright, I accept the apology.' But forgetting is another matter.

    "When you're a champion you don't act in this way. Alberto made a mistake. I'm fine with that, but I'm not forgetting it. Apologizing doesn't change what happened."

    WADA's recently published report into drug testing at the 2010 Tour also drew Schleck's ire. In stark contrast to Mark Cavendish's (HTC-Columbia) support of the independent observers' recommendation that tests be carried out at night, Schleck feels that such controls would be a step too far.

    "Testing during the night? That's ridiculous," Schleck said. "We must preserve the privacy of the athlete. I think it's enough that we wake up at 6 in the morning."

    Schleck brothers sign four-year deal with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project

    Andy Schleck confirmed that he and his brother Fränk have penned a four-year agreement with the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. He also explained that a formal name for the team has yet to be decided, but that the squad is following a similar structural model to the HTC and Garmin-Cervélo teams.

    "It's an entrepreneur in Luxembourg who put it all together. He is the big boss," Schleck said. "The team was created in a similar way to High Road and Slipstream a few years ago."

    Schleck also denied that the Luxembourg government has contributed to the sponsorship of the new team.

    "There is no public money. It's all private capital from an entrepreneur who has a lot of money and who wanted to get involved in cycling," said Schleck. "We have small sponsors, but the team name has not yet been decided.

    "The project is for a minimum of five years. I have signed for four, like my brother."

  • Fairly joins HTC-Highroad for two years

    Caleb Fairly shows off his third place trophy.
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 07:56
    Cycling News

    US neo-pro can climb and time trial

    Caleb Fairly will ride for Team HTC-Highroad for the coming two seasons. The team announced the signing of the young American neo-pro over the weekend.

    Fairly, 23, was most recently a stagiaire with Garmin-Transitions. This year he won the Tour of the Battenkill and was third in the Giro della Toscana.

    "I'm very excited about the opportunity to join HTC-Highroad for the next 2 seasons," said Fairly. "This team has a reputation for developing young talent in the Pro Tour, and I am honoured to be a part of such a great team and organisation."

    According to the team, he is a multi-talent who can climb and time trial well, and does well in stage races. "Fairly is a great young rider who demonstrates a lot of potential," commented Team Manager Rolf Aldag.

    He is one of several young riders to join the US-based team for the coming year, along with Irishman Matthew Brammeier and German John Degenkolb. He will also reunite with Garmin teammate and fellow American Danny Pate there.

  • Amstel Curacao Race cancelled due to severe road flooding

    Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck before the start.
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 08:00
    Cycling News

    One-hour criterium scheduled for Sunday morning

    The Amstel Curaçao Race was washed out on Saturday, as heavy rains and clogged drains combined to flood the roads. The organisers have put together a one-hour criterium Sunday morning as an alternative race.

    The storm was not a repeat of Tropical Storm Thomas, which hit earlier in the week, but was still bad enough to halt proceedings. Lightning struck the TV sender antenna, knocking out the broadcasts. The rain was heavy enough that water flowed through the streets, being as high as halfway up a wheel at places.

    After delaying the race for an hour, the decision was made to cancel the race entirely. Although the storm stopped and the sun came out, the roads were still flooded and too dangerous.

    "We had no other choice," organizer Leo van Vliet told "What if some of the 291 participants ended up in hospital with severe injuries? This is a tropical island. Such rainfall at this time of year is always possible, even if it is not usually much of a problem for Curacao and the Leeward Islands. "

    The Curacao race had attracted such riders as Andy and Fränk Schleck, Tony Martin, Jurgen Vandenbroeck, Allan Davis, Bauke Mollema and Niki Terpstra.

  • Roulston relieved after tight Tour of Southland battle

    Hayden Roulston of Calder Stewart BikeNZ National team looks resplendent in yellow.
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 15:37
    Richard Tyler

    HTC pro claims his fourth overall title

    Hayden Roulston was a relieved recipient of his fourth Tour of Southland title on Saturday after a claiming a tight two second win
    over compatriot Jack Bauer.

    This is probably the best to be honest because I had to stay quite focused. It's really hard coming down here with the weight of expectation on your shoulders...everyone just expects you to win, they just don't know how hard it is to win," he told press agency NZPA. "There are some very classy bike riders in New Zealand and I really take my hat off to them - they gave me a good run."

    Roulston had snatched the yellow jersey from Bauer on the penultimate stage after he claimed victory in a photo-finish sprint in Lumsden on Saturday morning to move into a four-second lead. Roulston then faced a nervous 64 kilometre final stage from Winton to Invercargill on Saturday afternoon, which was eventually won by his Calder Stewart-BikeNZ National teammate and fellow European pro Greg Henderson. Bauer finished third in the final sprint, to fall two seconds short of Roulston overall.

    "If Bauer had won the stage then he would have taken the jersey back off Roly," Henderson said. "So it was a bit of a panic sprint in
    the finish but luckily enough I had the legs to get him on the line."

    Bauer (Share the Road) was disappointed to have come so close to toppling Roulston, who will begin his second season with ProTour
    squad HTC next year.

    "We did what we could," said Bauer. "Roly has a lot of mates down here and, as you saw in this morning's stage, it's pretty hard to go
    up against that kind of manpower. Second's the same as getting 100th I guess but I laid it all out there, put 150 per cent in and just
    didn't come out on top.

    "It's really disappointing to work the team so hard over the whole course of the week and then come second -- [the team] deserve the
    yellow for the work they put in."

    Share the Road claimed the second and third spots on the final podium, with Jeremy Yates taking third overall. While Yates claimed
    two stage wins during the tour, his collision with a motorcycle on stage six ruined his chance of overall victory. Bauer pointed to the incident as the turning point in the race for the team.

    "Our tour kind of fell apart under the most bizarre circumstances but that's cycling -- anything can happen and it did," he said. "You take
    away lessons and there's always a positive in it -- just not a yellow positive."

    "I've finished the tour in much worse condition. This tour usually has a hard luck story and maybe this year I'm it," said Yates.

    The USA's Floyd Landis finished the race fourth overall.

  • Riis says he believes Contador is clean

    Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 15:42
    Barry Ryan

    Dane details doping past in new autobiography

    Bjarne Riis has claimed that he believes Alberto Contador is clean and will be cleared of any doping offence. The Saxo Bank manager’s comments come as he launches an autobiography detailing his own history of doping as a rider, including cheating to win the 1996 Tour de France.

    “I think Contador will be acquitted,” Riis told Politiken. “I believe in his innocence and I am convinced that he is a clean rider. I believe his explanation that the detected drug traces come from the Spanish steak. I can see no other explanation.”

    Contador returned an adverse analytical finding for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France before signing for Riis’ Saxo Bank team. He maintains that the traces of Clenbuterol came from eating contaminated steak brought from Spain during the Tour. Contador is currently awaiting a verdict on his case and Riis explained that he is in regular contact with the rider.

    “I speak with him once a week, maybe every 10 days, something like that,” Riis said. “He’s in good spirits, he’s started to train again so we’ll have something to work with, although the charge has hit hard.”

    While Riis is prepared to welcome Contador into the fold, another controversial rider will not be joining the Saxo Bank set up for 2011. Riis denied recent rumours linking his team to former Tour de France yellow jersey holder Michael Rasmussen.

    “I have seen that there are newspaper reports and rumours that I will present Michael as a new rider,” Riis said to Ekstra Bladet. “There’s been almost no contact and I will not sign Michael Rasmussen for Saxo Bank-Sungard.”

    Rasmussen received a two-year suspension after he missed two anti-doping controls carried out by the Danish Cycling Federation and one by the UCI (International Cycling Union) in 2007. He was removed from that year’s Tour de France by his Rabobank squad while leading the race.

    “I want to reiterate that I hope Michael gets an opportunity to race again,” Riis said. “He has earned it as he has served his sentence.”

    Rasmussen began his career on the road at Riis’ CSC-Tiscali team in 2002, before moving on to join Rabobank.

    Riis’ new book details doping past

    As well as finalising his roster for next season, Riis has also been putting the finishing touches to his autobiography in recent weeks and the book has just been launched in Denmark.

    In 2007, Riis made a very public confession of having doped to win the 1996 Tour de France and, as one would anticipate, the book includes details of his drug use during his career. The Dane began using cortisone in the 1980s and moved on to use EPO for the first time in 1993.

    “The hardest part was the very first syringe with vitamins and minerals that we all took,” Riis told Politiken. “I had no problem with the first drug injection. There was just something else in the syringe other than vitamins.”

    Riis said that he doped simply because it was part of the milieu in which he was surrounded and that he didn't pose himself any significant ethical questions at the time.

    “Look, it was part of the culture, you know that well,” he said. “Everyone knew it, even all the journalists in that environment.

    “As riders, we didn’t look on it as doping. We didn’t see it as something forbidden, but rather as preparation, and if you wanted to be in the running for the top positions and contracts, there was no way around it. ‘Everybody’ felt like there was no choice, so I had to do it too. So, I had no real guilt.”

    Riis also explained that both his ex-wife Mette and present wife Anne Dorthe were aware of his doping, although he says the latter warned him of its dangers.

    “We were two adults who spoke about it calmly,” Riis said. “But I guaranteed her that I would look after myself and I did. I’ve never had any side effects.”

    In his autobiography, Riis outlines the doping programme he followed during the 1990s, which he described to Politiken as “the full package.” However, he was adamant that the story is his and his alone

    “The book will tell my story, my truth,” he said. “I’m not aiming to make others responsible for my actions or place guilt on others. Nobody forced me, there were no requirements, I was not put under any pressure. It was my own choice.

    “There are certainly some people who will argue that the book lacks some information about ‘all the others.’ But that is quite deliberate. It’s not a gossip book.”

    Riis retired from racing in 1999 and became manager of what is now Saxo Bank-Sungard. In 2007, he confessed to having doped in the 1990s along with a number of his former teammates from Team Telekom. Riis was manager of CSC in 2006 when his rider Ivan Basso was unable to start that year’s Tour de France due to his involvement in Operacion Puerto.

  • Racing and relaxation in Curacao

    Niki Terpstra takes on advice from all quarters.
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 16:41
    Cycling News

    Photo gallery from the end of season racing in the Caribbean

    The Amstel Curacao Race may ultimately have been postponed due to heavy rain on Saturday, but that didn’t mean that there was no racing on the Caribbean island.

    Fränk Schleck signed off on his hugely successful time in Saxo Bank colours with victory in the Sunday morning criterium, which was organised to replace the weather-struck Amstel Curacao Race. The Luxembourg champion beat sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) to take out the win.

    Earlier in the week, Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank) won the Jan Thiel Criterium, providing a fitting end to his fifteen-year career as a professional. The Dutchman beat Sky sports director Steven De Jongh into second place, with Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) snapping up third place.

    As entertaining as the criteriums proved to be, from the riders’ point of view, the main attraction of the event was the island itself. Andy Schleck must be on first name terms with a significant portion of the dolphin populace of Curacao at this stage and he was just one of a host of riders who were returning to the event. Other stars taking time to enjoy some relaxation interspersed with racing included Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra, Bauke Mollema and Grischa Niermann.

    You see our Curacao racing and dolphin-charming gallery here.

  • Pozzovivo looking forward to 2011 Giro d'Italia climbs

    Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago CSF Inox)
    Article published:
    November 7, 2010, 21:00
    Barry Ryan

    Italian already familiar with Mount Etna

    Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) has given his seal of approval to the route of the 2011 Giro d’Italia. The Italian climber was forced to abandon early on in this year’s corsa rosa after a crash in the opening week and he is looking to make up for that disappointment the next time around.

    “The mountains at next year’s Giro inspire me,” Pozzovivo told Gazzetta dello Sport. “A lot of them are unknown to me. I’ll go and do reconnaissance of the Grossglockner, the Crostis and the Gardeccia. I’ll also study the Orvieto stage and I’ll climb Mount Etna again.”

    Pozzovivo spent his holidays in Sicily last year and decided that the only way to tackle the slopes of the mighty volcano was by bike.

    “I couldn’t resist the temptation,” he said. “I explored it from all sides, except for the western one. I climbed it as far as Rifugio Sapienza. The environment bewitched me.”

    His Giro disappointment aside, Pozzovivo enjoyed a fine 2010 season and took some prestigious wins on the Italian calendar. He impressed by winning the Alpe di Pampeago stage of the Giro del Trentino and he was still going strong in midsummer, taking two stages and the general classification at the Brixia Tour.

    Pozzovivo credits a training camp at altitude for the sparkling form that yielded Brixia Tour victory. As he does most seasons, the Italian spent much of July toiling on the slopes of the hallowed Passo di Stelvio.

    “I was based at the Hotel Folgore,” he said. “I like the idea of forcing myself to climb the Stelvio at the end of a training ride. But you need to be careful: one day, I didn’t eat enough and I got the knock. But just to be clear, I’ve never had to call somebody to come and pick me up.”

    For now, Pozzovivo is enjoying two weeks free of training, before beginning his build up to the 2011 season, where he will be aiming to better his 2008 Giro d’Italia performance, when he finished 8th.

    “From November 20, I’ll start training again by mountain biking, swimming and hunting for mushrooms and truffles,” he said. “Then from Christmas onwards, only the bike. Every year, it’s the nicest present that I give myself.”

  • Cane Creek refines headset range, adds compatibility and fitments

    Cane Creek has switched to drop-in bearings instead of a press-fit on its revamped, top-end 110 headset, saying it lends smoother movement after the cups are installed.
    Article published:
    November 8, 2010, 00:01
    James Huang

    Aheadset recreated as a truly modular headset system

    Cane Creek has revamped its entire headset range for 2011 with sharper looks and a few less grams but more importantly, increased compatibility across different model lines and new fitments to better accommodate changing markets.

    The 110 still sits at the top of the range with 7075-T6 aluminum cups that are CNC-machined in Cane Creek's Fletcher, North Carolina facility and full stainless steel cartridge bearings top and bottom. Those bearings now insert with a drop-in rather than press fit for freer movement after installation, though, while additional milling on the cups internal surfaces shed a bit of weight.

    The play-squelching upper split ring is now fully captured inside the upper cover for an even more rock-solid fit and puts less stress on carbon steerers, too, while the lower crown race sports additional seals for better protection in foul weather. As before, Cane Creek will confidently back the 110 with a 110-year no-questions-asked warranty.

    Cane Creek will offer the 110 in three traditional, three integrated, and three ZeroStack sizes plus tapered combinations. Prices range from US$90-175 depending on fitment.

    The all-new 40-Series looks to be the mainstay of Cane Creek's 2011 line with the widest range of fitments (four integrated, three ZeroStack, and four traditional sizes plus mixed combinations for tapered steerers) and most of the features borrowed from the 110 design but will less expensive materials like black oxide steel bearings and less intensively machined 6061-T6 aluminum cups produced overseas. Prices range from US$60-120.

    For more budget-minded consumers there's the 10-Series, which again bumps down in materials and machining intricacy relative to the 40-Series but prices are also quite aggressive at US$40-60 for a complete headset.

    Speaking of fitments, Cane Creek has wisely acknowledged that the days of having just a handful of headset sizes are long gone and is now selling headsets as individual upper and lower assemblies so that shops and customers can mix and match at will. Moreover, bearings, compression rings, and crown races are now fully compatible between the 10-Series, 40-Series, and 110 headset families and even stack heights for comparable fitments are now identical for easier swapping.

    For riders sporting 44mm-diameter ZeroStack head tubes Cane Creek's clever new lower cup size will allow the use of tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerers, thus breathing new life into heaps of older mountain bikes and lending even more front end rigidity into newer ones.

    Meanwhile, Cane Creek's clever new AngleSet line allows for slight changes in head tube angle in frames with otherwise fixed geometry – a key tuning metric especially for downhill and freeride rigs where even tiny changes can have major effects on handling at speed. Available for ZeroStack head tubes only, the AngleSet's gimbled sub-cups offer +/- 0.5, 1.0, or 1.5-degree adjustments – and a neutral 0-degree setup – so you can now tune your bike's handling to suit the course at hand.

    The ultralight AER and shiny 100 headsets as well as the mega-tunable Double Barrel rear shock all carry over essentially unchanged.

    Revamped Aheadset range offers easy mix-and-match headset creation

    The burgeoning crop of headset sizes and types aren't just a problem for consumers – it's also presented a nightmare for shops that need to service everything. To answer that need, Cane Creek has recreated the Aheadset brand as a truly modular headset system that can fit virtually any 1" or 1 1/8" traditional, integrated, or ZeroStack-compatible head tube – and even threaded or threadless steerers.

    By prioritizing cross-compatibility into each of the parts, shops can accommodate 11 different headset sizes and types with just 18 individual pieces, all of which will be contained in a compact parts box for easy storage and quick inventory. Complete headset will also be available for off-the-shelf jobs and takeaway sales to do-it-yourselfers.

    Save for the cartridge-equipped integrated fitment, the Aheadset system will rely exclusively on caged steel bearings (though that also means savvier shops can also loose-pack the cups for greater longevity) and there is currently no provision for 1.5" headsets. Likewise, though nearly all of the configurations are sealed, the mechanisms are somewhat simplistic and probably ill suited to heavy-duty service in wet climates.