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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 26, 2009

Date published:
October 26, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Contador awarded the Vélo d'Or in Paris

    Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, l-r, possible 2010 teammates.
    Article published:
    October 25, 2009, 18:35 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard to skip 2010 Giro, Spring Classics could precede Tour

    After taking part in the criterium of Oviedo in the Asturias on Saturday evening and the criterium of Alcobendas on Sunday morning, Alberto Contador flew to Paris to receive the Vélo d'Or. The presentation was broadcast live on France Télévisions for the first time since the inception of the trophy, awarded by French monthly Vélo Magazine since 1992.

    "I was happy to pay this trip to Paris because this is a popular television show and it remains a great honour to receive the Vélo d'Or," said Contador, who was the recipient of the trophy for the third time in a row. He was congratulated by compatriot and two-time winner, Miguel Indurain.

    "It's something incredible to win it three times," he continued. "There are many awards after the cycling season but this one has a great name. It was probably this year's Tour de France that has seen me become the winner this year."

    In the minds of the jury however, Contador is also a man who won 11 races this season, not only the Tour de France. Contador tallied the most votes in a ballot by respected journalists from 15 different countries. Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara were second and third, respectively. 

    With the next issue of Vélo Magazine to carry the headline, "Armstrong made me popular", Contador today acknowledged the influence of the seven-time Tour winner's presence in the peloton. "Our rivalry and conflict have given my win at the Tour de France a worldwide impact," he said this afternoon.

    Contador also admitted that he will not take part in the Giro d'Italia in 2010. "I will pretty much only think of the Tour de France for next year," he said. A change in his programme could see him ride the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, "but it's difficult for me to make a plan until I know which team I will ride for," he said.

    "It seems like I will have the opportunity to change teams. I want to...

  • Team Type 1 signs-up European talent

    Team Type 1 riders in action at the Cascade Cycling Classic.
    Article published:
    October 25, 2009, 19:29 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Seven new riders in Type 1's 17-man squad for 2010

    The Atlanta-based Team Type 1 has signed four European riders from current or former ProTour or European Continental teams to its 17-man roster for the 2010 season. Spanish all-rounder Javier Mejias Leal makes the move from Fuji-Servetto, a ProTour team.  Dutch sprinter Thomas Rabou transfers from the Continental Rabobank team and Russian Alexey Shmidt is moving from the Junost Moscow after previously riding for the Katusha Continental team. Finally, Martijn Verschoor is jumping over from the Dutch continental team Slenema & Co. Belastingadviseur. The team hopes the four will introduce some international flavour and experience and play a part in moving the squad up the National Racing Calendar (NRC) ranks in 2010.

    "Ultimately, this means we'll be reaching out to more people to spread our mission that people can take control of their diabetes through diet, exercise and the best technology available today," said Type 1 Sports Director Vassili Davidenko.

    Team Type 1 was co-founded three years ago by two young athletes, Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge, who themselves live with Type 1 diabetes. Southerland spent the better part of the 2009 season seeking out riders like Mejias Leal. The Spaniard was also born with Type 1 diabetes and fits in well with the squad's goal of bring international awareness of the disease through professional cycling.

    "The real highlight is signing the new rider in Mejias who will be capable of winning big races," said Southerland. "We've had a great job getting our message out. Now adding him into the mix will is to get in the big races and, beyond that, reach the international market."

    The squad have announced a complete roster of 17 riders for the 2010 season, four of whom live with Type 1 diabetes. In addition to Mejias Leal, fellow newcomer Verschoor and returning riders Joe Eldridge and Fabio Calabria live with Type 1 diabetes.

    Davidenko and new directeur sportif Mike Carter...

  • Mosquera eyes start in mountainous 2010 Giro

    A smiling Ezequiel Mosquera may be riding in the Giro next year.
    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 4:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Wildcard participation could reap rewards

    After his team made its debut in this year's Giro d'Italia, Xacobeo Galicia's Ezequiel Mosquera is keen to take on the mountains of the 2010 edition route, unveiled by RCS' Angelo Zomegnan last weekend.

    The Spanish climber, who finished this year's Vuelta a España in fifth, attended the route launch and said that the difficult parcours would be a challenge befitting his characteristics.

    "The 2010 Giro will travel to many mythical places in the history of this race: Mortirolo, Gavia, Zoncolan... I think it will be a very tough edition," said Mosquera.

    "We shouldn't only take into account the mountains. The distance of the stages is also very significant. There is a 256km day, plus several others [six] that are also over 200km, and they're close together. In short, the average mileage of the stages is very high," he added.

    With another time trial on the Plan de Corones in addition to five other mountain stages in store for riders, and Alberto Contador announcing it's unlikely he'll be riding the Giro, Mosquera was excited by the prospect of contesting Italy's grand tour.

    "The prologue, the time trial on the last day and the team time trial, although the two individuals [time trials] are short. The mountain time trial would be better suited to my characteristics," he explained.

    Mosquera's team will again rely on a wildcard entry for the Giro, although given his performances in the Vuelta and the the squad's animation of this year's race, there's a good chance the Galician outfit will be back in 2010.

    "The mountains will decide next year's Giro. I could not ride this year's race and I would be delighted to participate in the 2010 edition, with all those mountains, of which I have heard but I don't know," said Mosquera.

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  • Ballan to race Giro for first time

    Italian Alessandro Ballan
    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 10:30 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Former world champion to lead BMC in Italian Grand Tour

    Former world champion Alessandro Ballan will race the Giro d'Italia with BMC Racing for the first time next year. Ballan made the announcement Saturday in Milan at the presentation of the 2010 route.

    "I was unable to show off the world champion jersey at the Giro this year, though it was in my plans," said Ballan. "I want to be there next year and honour the race."

    Ballan won the rainbow jersey in Varese, Italy in 2008. A virus stopped him from racing most of the 2009 spring campaign and the Giro d'Italia.

    He signed with BMC Racing for 2010 and 2011 in September. It will be important for the team's Giro wildcard invitation that Ballan is part of the team. The race runs May 8 to 30 and organisers will select participating teams early next year.

    At the presentation in Milan Ballan saw two stages that would suit his strengths as a rider. He liked stage 14 over Monte Grappa, to Asolo, and stage seven to Montalcino. The Montalcino stage will cover around 15 of its 215 kilometres on gravel roads - the ones used in the Eroica one-day race.

    Montalcino "is one of the stages that I could do well in," Ballan said. "I like it, I have done Eroica a couple of times and I know the area well. It is one of those stages where Ballan will be present."

    Ballan established himself as a one-day rider with wins in the 2005 Trofeo Laigueglia and 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen. In 2008 he finished fourth in Ronde van Vlaanderen, third in Paris-Roubaix and won the world championships.


  • Moser: Giro's mountains to decide race outcome

    Italian Franceco Moser won the 1984 Giro d'Italia in Verona
    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 10:49 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Verona welcomes Giro finale 26 years after Moser, Fignon duel

    The 2010 Giro d'Italia will finish in Verona for the first time since Francesco Moser won the final time trial to take the overall win in 1984. However Italy's Moser believes the final mountain stages will be the deciding factor, not the 15.3 kilometre time trial into Verona's outdoor Roman amphitheatre.

    "Seeing the stage brought back a beautiful memory for me. It reminds me of 26 years ago," Moser, 58, told Cyclingnews. "I don't think it will have the same significance as when I raced it because I don't think there will be a close two-man battle in Verona."

    In 1984, Moser beat France's Laurent Fignon by 2:24 in the final 42-kilometre time trial and won the race's overall by 1:03 over Fignon.

    Moser was one of several past Giro d'Italia winners who attended the presentation of the 2010 route Saturday in Milan.

    Organiser RCS Sport presented a traditional route, one with high mountain climbs in the third week. The race, May 8 to 30, covers the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs in the final week. The final stage is a 15.3 kilometre time trial, which starts and ends in Verona.

    "It is a very hard course with too many climbs," Moser said. "You want a big show, but when there are so many climbs you risk the riders saving themselves until the final climb."

    Russian Denis Menchov won this year's race, but its route was a non-classical one criticised by some observers. It ended in Rome, far from the Giro's famous climbs in the Alps and Dolomites.

    Verona will welcome the final stage for only the third time in the race's 93 years. Its first visit was in 1981, when Norway's Knut Knudsen won the time trial from Soave and Italy's Giovanni Battaglin won the overall.


  • Henn moves upstairs as Milram restructure

    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 11:31 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Gerdemann, Ciolek and co must improve

    In response to a disappointing 2009 Team Milram is restructuring, with Christian Henn moving from Sport Director to a more management position, responsible for race analysis and race planning. Directeur Sportif and former rider Ralf Grabsch will take over as Sport Director.

    Henn denied that he had been moved upstairs or demoted in any way and that the new role would benefit the team’s goals. "It is the best for me, when we work together to make structural improvements," he told "I will be with the team as much as before, but in a more analytical role. This is a change which should be the basis for a successful season in 2010."

    Another change will be that team will race less in than in 2009, Henn said. "As it now looks, we will have some 30 to 40 few race days."
    The riders will start their training in November, and will face "a harder preparation." Those riders who will start in the season's first race, the Tour Down Under (January 17-24) will train specifically for that race. "With these changes we hope to get some early successes, which will give a push to the whole team," Henn said.

    This year the team based its hopes on co-captains Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek. Ciolek brought in two wins, the Trofeo Calvia of the Mallorca Challenge in February and stage two of the Vuelta a Espana. He had hoped to do well in the Spring Classics, but a lingering illness put an end to those hopes.

    Gerdemann's only win on the year was the overall title in the Bayern Rundfahrt, which he took without any stage wins. After finishing seventh in Tirreno-Adriatico and winning Bayern, he moved on to his season targets, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France. However Gerdemann struggled in the mountains in both races, finishing 41st in Switzerland and 24th in France.

    When team manager Gerry van Gerwen announced the 2010 line-up and other changes earlier this month, he said that, "We will no longer ride...

  • Petacchi ready for Giro battle with Cavendish

    Alessandro Petacchi at the 2010 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 11:44 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Giro d'Italia offers seven sprint stages for Italian sprinter

    Italy's Alessandro Petacchi is looking forward to the 2010 Giro d'Italia and a possible duel with Brit Mark Cavendish. Petacchi attended the unveiling of the 2010 route Saturday in Milan, a race with seven possible sprint stages.

    Cavendish, "is yet another rival and I hope he races. If he is there it's better," said Petacchi. "The more sprinters there are the more chances we have for a sprint. We have to take the chances for a sprint finish when we can because the last week doesn't present many possibilities."

    Giro organiser RCS Sport presented a traditional route, one with high mountain climbs in the third week. The race, May 8 to 30, will take the riders up the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs in the final week. However, there are up to seven days that could end in a sprint: Utrecht, Middelburg, Novi Ligure, Cava de' Tirreni, Bitonto, Porto Recanati and Brescia.

    Petacchi has 19 career stage wins in the Giro d'Italia, but lost the sprint duel to Cavendish this year. Cavendish won three stages and held the leader's maglia rosa jersey for two days. Petacchi won two stages and had the jersey for one day.

    His move from LPR Brakes to Lampre could provide a strong lead-out train in the final kilometres. He took up the lead-out train tactic from Italy's legendary sprinter, Mario Cipollini, and uses it do fight off the explosive sprint of riders like Cavendish and Robbie McEwen.

    "Having a lead-out train suits me," said Petacchi. "I need riders ahead of me in the last kilometres, unlike Cavendish or McEwen. Those guys can look after themselves."

    The team change will allow Petacchi to return to battle his rivals at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. Lampre is a ProTour team that usually receives invitations to the top races.


  • Schleck to prepare for Tour with Spring Classics

    Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck is a bona fide star after the Tour.
    Article published:
    October 26, 2009, 12:58 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Working to improve in mountains and time trials in order to win the Tour

    Andy Schleck of Team Saxo Bank will ride the Spring Classics in preparation for the Tour de France, and once again skip the Giro d'Italia. The Luxembourger will look to improve on his second place finish this year, saying “If I can finish second, then I think I can win.”

    His spring plan includes Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he will look to defend his 2009 victory and the Amstel Gold Race. “Also for the first time, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, to prepare for the paves that await us in the third stage of the Tour. It is an area where you can't win the Tour, but you can lose it,” Schleck told the Spanish newspaper El País.

    The 24-year-old said that in order to win, “I need a strong team and to improve on the climbs, because the mountain is where you can lose the Tour within five minutes.”

    He also knows that he needs to work on his time trialing abilities, as the penultimate stage of the 2010 Tour is a 50km time trial which could be decisive. “Mental training... I've worked hard with Bobby Julich,” Schleck said, noting, “I am improving every year and I'm not so bad. I'll never be a Cancellara, but I can improve a lot.”

    Being able to ride alongside of older brother Fränk is “a luxury,” he said. “With him I have confidence that I do not have with anyone else. Who else will say, “you jerk, what have you done with your shoes,” and things like that.”

    Schleck gets along with many of his teammates, but admitted that former teammate Carlos Sastre was not one of them. “I never understood what his problem was. He won the Tour and everyone who watched it on TV and knows a bit about cycling realised what we sacrificed for him. And he went out in the press and said things that made no sense, like we did not want to work for him.” Saying, “We were one hundred percent for him, working for him,” he...