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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, October 3, 2011

Date published:
October 03, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Contador reveals his 2012 race programme

    A defeated Alberto Contador lost 3:50 on Andy Schleck.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2011, 15:41 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spaniard to target the Tour if cleared of doping

    Alberto Contador will have to wait for a final verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport to find out if he can race in 2012. But if he is cleared of doping after his 2010 positive test for Clenbuterol, he intends to again target the Tour de France.

    Contador faces a hearing over several days at the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne in November, with a verdict coming a few weeks after that. On Tuesday he will be in California for a bike ride starting in Sausalito near San Francisco.

    "The Tour de France will be the number one goal, while the new thing will be riding Tirreno-Adriatico," Contador explained during a web chat on the El Mundo site.

    The Spaniard traditionally rides Paris-Nice and has won it twice in 2007 and 2010, but is looking for a more gradual build-up if he is cleared to race in 2012.

    "In principal my season will include races like Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. I'd then like to ride the Dauphine to get ready for the Tour de France. We'll have to see if I ride the Vuelta but it's possible."

    Despite his drawn out doping investigation and appeal, Contador won this year's Giro d'Italia and went on to finish fifth in this year's Tour de France, 3:57 behind winner Cadel Evans (BMC). He dominated one of the toughest ever edition of the Giro but seemed to pay the price for his efforts at the Tour in July and has hardly raced since.

    "I think the Giro is the nicest race that exists, considering the beauty of the course. This year's Vuelta was spectacular and kept the spectators hooked. It hasn't got the history of the Tour or the Giro but they're working hard on making course better and it's becoming more and more attractive....

  • Cobo back in action at the Memorial Pantani

    Geox - TMC 2011 - Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Geox - TMC)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2011, 18:11 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Vuelta winner finishes ninth in Italy

    Vuelta Espana winner Joan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) was back in action at the Memorial Pantani race in Italy on Saturday, finishing ninth behind winner Fabio Taborre (Acqua & Sapone), three weeks after winning his home grand tour Madrid.

    Cobo has not raced since then, preferring to enjoy some time off to celebrate his surprise Grand Tour success. He celebrated with his friends and family in his home village of La Pesa in the Cantabria region and was even a special guest at a Real Madrid Football match.

    “After the Vuelta I put my bike away for a few days to recuperate,” Cobo explained in a statement from the Geox-TMC team. "It wasn’t easy because I really had a lot of commitments: the official celebrations for my victory, the party in my hometown with friends and fans, meetings with sponsors, interviews and lots of other engagements which I had never had to face until now. However all the attention was quite flattering."

    "The contact with people and all the media attention helped me to fully understand the importance of my victory, what an awesome result it is for both me and the team. However, the season is not over yet, and now I’m very happy to get back into racing and pedaling in the peloton.”

    Cobo raced with Vuelta winning teammates David De la Fuente and Fabio Duarte. He was part of the 15-rider breakaway that formed on the tough Montevecchio climb and then tried his hand in the sprint in Cesenatico.

    Cobo is likely to decide his future while in Italy. He is very close to Geox-TMC directeur sportif Joxean Matxin but has reportedly received a huge offer from the Astana team that is desperate to secure his UCI ranking points. Geox-TMC manager Mauro Gianetti hopes to convince...

  • Cardoso joins Caja Rural

    Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack) wins stage four of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.
    Article published:
    October 01, 2011, 21:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sponsor continues through 2014

    Portuguese sprinter Manuel Cardoso will take a step back from the WorldTour in 2012, heading to the Professional Continental Caja Rural squad from RadioShack following his team's merger with Leopard Trek.

    The Spanish team also announced that its title sponsor has extended its contract through 2014 and will increase the budget, according to Diario de Navarra and the team's website.

    28-year-old Cardoso this season won stage four of the Volta a Catalunya and took 16th in the UCI road world championships in Denmark.

    With only one victory to his names in each of the past two seasons, Cardoso is looking to have greater opportunity in the coming season. "Things have not gone so well with RadioShack as I thought with the arrival of McEwen," Cardoso said to Diario de Navarra.

    He said team director Mikel Azparren had been trying to sign him for a while. "I found the proposal interesting. I am an ambitious rider, I can not promise victory, but all my work and my professionalism. I want to do good things with Caja Rural, I found a good team."

    The team, headquartered in Navarra, will continue to be managed by Floren Esquisábel, with Mikel Azparren, Juanma Hernández and Eugenio Goikoetxea. Directeur sportif Xabier Artetxe will exit the squad.

    Half of the 18 riders for 2012 will be new recruits, with eight Spaniards and ten foreign riders. The squad will set its sight on selection for the Vuelta a Espana..

    "It's a dream that we all hope will become reality," said Azparren. "It will be special because the Vuelta starts in Pamplona, and that is very special for our home region. We are very motivated and want to do well."

    Continiuing with the team are Garikoitz Bravo, Aitor Galdós, Igor Romero, Julián...

  • Craig Lewis secures 2012 contract

    Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    October 01, 2011, 23:21 BST
    By:
    Laura Weislo

    American confident of full return from broken femur

    American Craig Lewis, one of the last riders of the HTC-Highroad team to find a new position following his squad's demise, has secured his future with a new contract for 2012.

    A broken femur from a crash in the Giro d'Italia couldn't have come at a worse time for Lewis. While still being nursed back to health, he found out that his HTC-Highroad did not find a title sponsor and was shutting down at the end of the year.

    Faced with shopping himself to new teams in a shrinking job market while still barely able to walk right, Lewis was unwavering in his determination to return to the European peloton and not settle for a domestic team.

    After months of work, he finally secured a contract, but the team is not ready to make an official announcement. It should be made public in the coming weeks.

    Lewis told Cyclingnews that he feels like he's found the right team, one that won't compromise his goals of racing in Europe but will offer him more opportunities than he's had in the past few years.

    "I was only going to [sign] if it felt right for me. I wasn't going to go to any random team," Lewis said. "This team showed me a lot of belief and a lot of respect. I will have a leadership role, and it will give me more freedom. What more can you ask for from a team?"

    It's still early days, but Lewis said he will target the Tour of California as a main goal, something which he hasn't been able to do since he settled into his role as a domestique for HTC-Highroad in 2008.

    An uphill battle

    It wasn't easy work to find a new contract, he said when interviewed last month at the Interbike trade show. "I don't have WorldTour points, I haven't won big...

  • Robert Gesink fires back at his critics

    Robert Gesink (Rabobank) has had a poor Tour de France
    Article published:
    October 02, 2011, 10:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Rabobank leader insists he has the mental strength to win

    Robert Gesink of Rabobank is sick and tired of hearing that he cannot deal with adversity and that he crashes too often and has responded to his sports director Adri van Houwelingen, who recently criticised him publicly.

    “As if I have not been proven in recent years that I can fight.,” he told De Volkskrant.  “I crashed in the Vuelta in 2009, but was still sixth overall.  What happened in the Tour has nothing to do with my mental toughness. Because there is nothing wrong with that. "

    Gesink was one of many who crashed during the fifth stage of the Tour de France from Carhaix to Cap Fehel.  He finished the race 33rd, over an hour down on winner Cadel Evans (BMC).

    Van Houwelingen touched a raw nerve with when he publicly said that Gesink often saw the glass as half empty rather than half full and that he had to work on his mental toughness.

    "Something like that is the biggest bullshit comment you can give," said Gesink. "He may give his opinion in public. But if someone has a vision that just is not right, I notice that. For my teammates this has not been a subject. "

    "It is not true that I crash more than others," Gesink insisted. “But that is what is reported.  Luis Leon Sanchez crashed six or seven times.  You hear nothing about that. Nobody knows how often someone like Bram Tankink hits the ground.  But I'm the one who gets the coverage.”

    Gesink didn't help his case with a crash while training two weeks ago, when he fractured his femur.  Although he is now recovering, he

  • Bak looking forward to finally having his chance at Lotto-Ridley

    Lars Bak (HTC-Columbia) came in third.
    Article published:
    October 02, 2011, 11:25 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dane says always too low in hierarchy at Saxo Bank and Highroad

    Lars Bak is looking forward to having his own chance of success in the Spring Classics in 2012 with the new-look Lotto-Ridley team, chances he never had at his previous teams Saxo Bank and HTC-Highroad.

    “When I rode for Saxo Bank, I never had a chance. I was always among the best but it was never enough t osec for a place on the Tour team in the five seasons  I rode for Bjarne Riis,” Bak told sporten.dk.  “And when I started at HTC Highroad, I was again the lowest in the hierarchy again.”

    Bak, 31, rode for Saxo Bank from 2005 to 2009, before joining HTC-Highroad for two seasons. With his move to the new team, “this time I think I will be a little higher up the hierarchy” than in the other teams.

    “I talked a lot with Andre Greipel before I decided to sign with Lotto. They need an all-round rider who can help Greipel in the sprints and I've gained valuable experience riding for Mark Cavendish at HTC-Highroad.”

    However, helping the sprinter is only a part of his plans for the coming season.  A fifth-place finish in this year's Paris-Roubaix only whetted his appetite for more.

    “I have really acquired a taste for the Classics. Paris-Roubaix is ​​a race for which I will aim at 100 percent for next year. Lotto also has a rider Jurgen Roelandts, who is our man in Flanders and some of the Belgian spring races.  But the sport directors of Lotto want me to be ready for the race too.”

  • Britain to bid for UCI road world championships

    Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) starts his celebrations
    Article published:
    October 02, 2011, 22:31 BST
    By:
    Richard Moore

    Cavendish's success gives impetus to plan

    Great Britain is planning a bid to stage the world road race championships in the next decade, with Wales, Scotland and London the likely locations, and the likelihood of a suitably ambitious bid boosted by Mark Cavendish's victory in this year's title race in Copenhagen.

    Brian Cookson, the British Cycling president and newly elected president of the UCI road commission, said that the success in Copenhagen of Cavendish and the British team, have added fresh impetus to a proposal that is long overdue. It is 29 years since Britain last hosted the world road championships, when Goodwood staged the title races in 1982.

    "We will bid for the world road championships," said Cookson, speaking at the weekend's British track cycling championships in Manchester. "It's difficult in this country with the way the public sector is at the moment, but I think there are a number of places where we might do it successfully; maybe Wales, maybe Scotland, maybe London - I would think those places are the favourites. But we're in very preliminary discussions with those people."

    Asked whether British Cycling is taking a lead in those early discussions, Cookson said: "We are talking with them through our competition division. We're also talking with UK Sport about our own role internationally and our strategy, and a world road race championship has always been on our agenda.

    "The last one was 1982, which is far too long ago," Cookson continued. "You need to plan six to eight years ahead with the UCI and other partners, and start raising awareness. But the fact Cav won this year has raised the profile and it increases the opportunity."

    Cookson stressed that the

  • Crawford not just making up the numbers for Jayco-2XU in Tasmania

    Jai Crawford (Fly V Australia) crosses the line ahead of Levi Leipheimer (Mellow Johnny's).
    Article published:
    October 03, 2011, 0:43 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Tenacious climber looks for salvation following frustrating year

    Jai Crawford may have been a late inclusion into the Jayco-2XU team for the Tour of Tasmania, but you could be hard-pressed to find a hungrier member of the peloton as he makes is return to the National Road Series for the first time since 2009.

    The 28-year-old joins a cracking line-up for the Pat Jonker-directed outfit for the 10-stage Tour with Mark Jamieson, Trek-LiveStrong pair Dale Parker and Josh Atkins, recent Victorian Open Road Championship-winner Ben Hill, Nick Dougall, James Hepburn and Trenton Day set to tackle the final round of the Scody Cup.

    "We've got a strong team with Dale Parker who's obviously a very good bike rider and there's a bunch of young guys there who are travelling pretty well and are full of motivation," he told Cyclingnews.

    Crawford's previous appearance in the NRS was at the Tour of Gippsland and the Tour of Tasmania with the Savings & Loans squad in 2009, where Jonker was also director, netting top 10 results on general classification.

    A chance meeting with Jonker, who was working with the US National Team at last month's Tour of China where Crawford was racing for Taiwanese outfit Giant Kenda, reacquainted the pair.

    "We'd spoken a little bit about it but obviously he had to look after the regular riders on the team but a spot popped up through injury and here I am," the Hobart-native explained. "It's good, I've been looking for a ride in Tassie for a while but no one was really interested because they've all got their regular riders and they don't want to kick someone off just to put me in."

    There are few events on the NRS calendar better suited to the tenacious climber than the Tour of Tasmania, and off the back of the Tour of China where he helped teammate Muradjan Halmuratov to overall victory, Crawford is hopeful of a strong...