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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 24, 2011

Date published:
October 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Feillu finds saviour in Saur-Sojasun

    Brice Feillu (Leopard Trek)
    Article published:
    October 23, 2011, 17:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman heads home after RadioShack-Leopard merger

    Brice Feillu is hoping to put a dismal year at Leopard-Trek behind him when he rides for French squad Saur-Sojasun next season.

    The younger brother of Vacansoleil-DCM rider Romain, Feillu rose to prominence with an impressive stage win in the 2009 Tour de France whilst riding for French squad Agritubel before he signed for Vacansoleil last year, although he only spent one season at the Dutch team.

    He was signed by Leopard-Trek for its inaugural and only season as an independent outfit but the presence of both Schleck brothers meant his chances of riding the Tour in 2011 were limited.

    He rode the Giro d’Italia but failed to impress and the move to the Pro Conti ranks is an indication of his poor fortunes in 2011.

    French daily La Nouvelle Republique reports that Feillu was brought into Saur-Sojasun’s ranks to assist leader Jerome Coppel, who finished 14th overall in this year’s Tour – after the French squad was given a wildcard entry – and showed promise for a top 10 performance in the future.

    He’s yet another rider left in difficult circumstances following the merger between RadioShack and Leopard-Trek, with Australian Will Clarke recently announced as signing for Pro Conti outfit Champion Systems for 2012.

  • McEwen to say farewell to Noosa GP after a decade of involvement

    Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian chasing fourth win in 'home race'

    Three-time Tour de France green jersey winner Robbie McEwen will be lining up at this weekend’s Noosa Grand Prix for what will be his last attendance at the event with the 39-year-old previously announcing he’ll be calling time on his riding career before July of next year.

    "I’d say this will be the last one," said McEwen."The plan is that I’ll be hanging up the wheels midway through next season so this will be the last Noosa."

    The announcement marks the end of a long association with the race for the Queensland native, having either raced at, or been an ambassador at the event for over a decade.

    "It’s an event I always want to be involved in because the whole weekend is fantastic and the criterium itself is brilliant," said McEwen. "The crowd is massive and they just go wild.

    "This is one of the very few opportunities I get to race in front of a home crowd. There’s not much racing in Queensland. The Brisbane crit isn’t on anymore, the Gold Coast crit isn’t on anymore, so Noosa’s my only chance to do a home race."

    McEwen is a three time winner of the Noosa Grand Prix, but will be up against it in 2011 if he hopes to make it four, with a stacked field lining up alongside the Queenslander.

    Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad), Jack Bobridge, Heinrich Haussler and Matt Wilson (Garmin-Cervelo), Chris Sutton, Matthew Hayman and Jeremy Hunt (Sky), Baden Cooke and David Tanner (Saxo Bank SunGard), Michael Mathews (Rabobank) as well as national criterium champion Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) will all be lining up in Noosa.

    Despite the level of competition facing him, McEwen, who recently took two stages on the way to overall victory at the Circuit Franco-Belge, still hopes to finish his involvement with the race on top.

    "There might be some...

  • End of an era: Top ranked NRC team Colavita-Forno D’Asolo folds

    The Colavita Forno d'Asolo riders look a touch nervous before the start of Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 4:29 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Circuit Global Sports Management’s new women’s team to absorb some Colavita riders and staff

    John Profaci, Colavita USA, LLC Vice President of Marketing and owner of UCI-sanctioned Colavita-Forno D’Asolo Women’s Professional Cycling, has announced that his team will not continue next season largely due to a lack of sufficient support from companies within the cycling industry.

    A handful of the team’s riders and staff, who had already signed contracts for next season, are expected to be taken in by Circuit Global Sports Management’s, owners and operators of the UCI Continental Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, new domestic women’s program in 2012.

    A clearly disappointed Profaci explained to Cyclingnews his hands were very much tied when sponsors 'scaled back support'.

    "For the first time in ten years that I've been sponsoring cycling, I saw a sponsors 'perfect storm' approaching as far back as August," Profaci said. "I thought the Colavita sport sponsorship would remain sound as we experienced the most successful season any Colavita pro team, men or women, has had over our ten year span.

    "Typically, that would make any program in any sport a win-win for prosperous continuance, but in our case and as a women’s team, I learned this was not the case. Instead, the cycling industry actually pulled back on us and substantially reduced its support for the team."

    According to Profaci, the team lost significant funds and industry sponsorship, which made it impossible to run the team let alone provide deserving salary advancements to riders who provided outstanding performances through the 2011 season.

    "Without any intention of offending those many wonderful cycling industry companies who have supported our programs for many years, I must admit the direct cause of Colavita ending its women's team title sponsorship was in fact losing key industry supplier support," Profaci...

  • Matthews, Cantwell headline new Brisbane criterium

    2011 Rund um Köln champion Michael Matthews (Rabobank) with his winner's hardware.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 6:07 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hopes that event will build into Tour de Brisbane

    The Vault Criterium, coming to Brisbane's Albert Bishop Park on 6 November, is destined to be one of the biggest events on the Australian racing calendar. With a top venue, big prize money, and state-of-the art technology attracting some of the country's biggest names.

    Adrian Booth, owner and manager of BoomTime Cycle Systems and organiser of the event, says that with over $30,000 prize money on offer, The Vault Criterium is one of the richest in the country.

    "We're promised some exciting and competitive racing," says Booth, "Under-23 World Road Race Champion and Rabobank pro Michael Matthews, Australian Criterium Champion Jonathan Cantwell, Drapac rider Peter Thompson, former Oceania TT champion and Endura Pro Cyclist Jack Anderson are all locked in to light up the flat, fast, windy 1.9km circuit."

    "The $1,000 prize for most aggressive rider ensures this event is going to be filthy hard, and great viewing for spectators at Albert Bishop Park and on the web," says Booth.

    The Vault Criterium will also offer generous prize money to B, C and D grade competitors, as well as a corporate event. "I'm really pleased to support an event where riders at all levels can get involved and win big, as well as the pros," says chief sponsor and CEO of Vault Accountants, Brad Gunn.

    For those on the sidelines, the event promises a family-friendly, festival feel, including a trade show, a VIP team zone where spectators can watch riders prepare to race, a kids' area including a jumping castle, DJ, food outlets and plenty of shade.
    Luke Lucas, Queensland's premier cycling commentator, will call the events from a platform 30 feet in the air. His commentary will also be fed live to the web.

    For those who can't make it to the track, the live web feed will be available to stream or download at the BoomTimelive.tv channel at www.boomtime.it, thanks to technical...

  • Boonen happy with new team configuration

    Belgium's Tom Boonen ready to roll on the road where he won a stage of the Tour of Britain.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 10:16 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wants to come back to former level at Omega Pharma-Quick Step

    Tom Boonen has voiced his praise for the new Omega Pharma-Quick Step team with which he will race next year. The merger between part of the former Omega Pharma-Lotto squad and Patrick Lefevere's team has brought together a strong outfit combining a multitude of fast men, strong rouleurs, Classics specialists and even Grand Tour contenders.

    Boonen is part of a contingent that also feature Francesco Chicci, Gert Steegmans and Gerald Ciolek as pure sprinters, Bert Grabsch and Adam Hansen as time trial specialists, Sylvain Chavanel and himself for the one-day races, and Tony Martin and Levi Leipheimer as overall contenders for stage races. Boonen was especially pleased with the balance of the roster and its capacity to pursue a variety of objectives.

    "The team has changed in a good way," Boonen told Sporza. "We had our first meeting last week and that was very pleasant. Now that we know Cavendish won't join us, we will use the riders that we have differently and I will be much more supported in the finale of races."

    The three-time Paris-Roubaix winner is confident that he can make an impact on the Spring Classics once again in 2012. While he won Gent-Wevelgem in March, his last victory in a Monument dates back to 2009 when he last won the 'Hell of the North'. This year, the 31-year-old finished fourth at the Tour of Flanders but abandoned Paris-Roubaix after suffering mechanical problems and a crash. Responding to criticism, he argued that he did not feel overshadowed by the other riders of his team.

    "I've won a lot in the past so it's not correct to say that 2012 will be my last chance. I've been satisfied with my riding and I want to come back to my former level," said Boonen, who has been the victim of several crashes this season, which ultimately put an end to his Tour de...

  • Stamsnijder signs for Project 1t4i

    Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 10:43 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutchman joins from Leopard Trek

    Tom Stamsnijder has become the latest rider to sign for Project 1t4i, as Skil-Shimano will be known at the beginning of next season.

    The move marks the Dutchman’s return to a home-based team after a one-year hiatus at Leopard Trek. The 26-year-old joined from Rabobank last year, but he was one of a number of riders forced to seek employment elsewhere when it was revealed that the Luxembourg-based squad would merge with RadioShack ahead of next season.

    “I’ve ridden for Gerolsteiner, Rabobank and Leopard Trek where I’ve gained a lot of experience. Now I’m looking forward with ambition to this new step in my career,” Stamsnijder said.

    Project 1t4i has now made no fewer than seven new signings in its bid to gain entry to the WorldTour ranks in 2012. Among the new names in next year’s roster are John Degenkolb and Patrick Gretsch, while sprint sensation Marcel Kittel remains with the team.

    “Project 1t4i is a very ambitious team that has a great future ahead,” said Stamsnijder. “I’m happy to contribute to their future and I think I can really develop myself as a cyclist with thorough support from the team.”

     

  • Boasson Hagen should forget bunch sprints, says Hushovd

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) mounts the podium.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 12:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Young Norwegian could win “all the Classics”

    Edvald Boasson Hagen should forget the mass sprints and not dream of winning the Tour de France, Thor Hushovd has said. But the younger Norwegian should focus on the Classics and stage wins.

    “I think it will be difficult for Edvald to win the Tour de France overall,“ Hushovd told the Norwegian TV 2 Sport. “But he can win all the Classics.”

    Boasson Hagen's chances for the sprints will be reduced by the presence of Mark Cavendish on Team Sky in the coming season. “He cannot focus on flat sprints, because Cavendish will be the only one, there is no doubt. But Edvald can go for the harder ones as he did in the summer when he won the sixth stage of the Tour de France.”

    Hushovd also believes that Boasson Hagen can win more time trials. “You see now that riders like Cancellara are not as superior as before.  If Edvald had ridden the time trial (at the Worlds), I think he would have finished very high up.”

    The 24-year-old's mental strength also came in for praise. “When he decides to go into a break, he is so outrageously determined and stubborn that he doesn't give up until he is caught.  And when he is in the break, he is hard to catch. It's the way he should continue in the Tour de France. Then he can win the stages as he did this year.”

    While Boasson Hagen won the sixth stage of the Tour in a sprint, he took the 17th stage out of a break. He was part of a group which got away 60km into the stage, and he then escaped from that group near the end to win in a solo effort.

    Hushovd himself has transformed...

  • Samuel Sanchez confirms Euskaltel sponsorship issues

    Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) leads Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) on Luz-Ardiden.
    Article published:
    October 24, 2011, 12:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion could join Contador if Basque team folds

    Samuel Sanchez has confirmed that the future of Euskaltel-Euskadi is far from secure. The team's current sponsorship contract runs out at the end of next season, and further backing is still being negotiated.

    "If things continue this way, then Euskaltel will disappear in 2012 and many people will be on the street. I really hope that they will announce the renewal of the sponsorship soon or another sponsor. This team deserves it," Sanchez told Marca.

    The 33-year-old has been with the Basque outfit ever since he started his career eleven years ago, but he said he could also imagine riding for the team of his good friend Alberto Contador if Euskaltel really should fold. "If you asked anyone that question, he would say yes," Sanchez responded when asked whether he'd like to join Contador in the future. "He's one of the best in history. Moreover, I have shared the national jersey with him already and that was a pleasure."

    In any case, Sanchez has high objectives for the coming Olympic year, where he wants to defend his title in London after hopefully finishing on the Tour de France podium again in Paris.

    "I think that in 2012 I will be able to contend for it - that's what we are working on. My main characteristic is my regularity. I want to be better every year and next year I will continue to attack," said the 2011 stage and king of the mountains winner.

    "I'm not sure which was more beautiful - the stage win [one stage 12 to Luz-Ardiden] or the jersey. Both were very emotional, but getting on the podium in Paris was also especially exciting," added the Spaniard, who finished sixth on general classification but was honoured on the Champs-Elysées as...