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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 15, 2009

Date published:
August 15, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Zberg to announce retirement

    Former Swiss Champion Markus Zberg (BMC Racing Team)
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 13:56 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Serious injuries from de l'Ain crash force him out

    Markus Zberg of BMC Racing Team is announcing his retirement today after 14 years as a pro cyclist. The 35-year-old suffered serious injuries in the Tour de l'Ain earlier this month.

    Zberg crashed with 35 km to go in the first stage of the race. He braked but the rider behind him did not, sending Zberg flying over his handlebars to land hard on the road. Zberg came away with a broken pelvis and ribs, which "hurt brutally, especially when I move," he told

    He is also concerned about his spleen, which must be examined again. "I can only hope that it is not torn, because then they would have to remove it."

    The 35-year-old now faces four weeks of total rest, instead of praparing to ride the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, in September.

    Zberg turned pro in 1996 and rode with Team Carrera, Mercatone Unto and Post-Swiss-Team for one year each, before joining Rabobank in 1999. He joined his older brother Beat at Team Gerolsteiner in 2003, and came to BMC this year.

    He was national road champion in 2000 and 2008. In 1998 he won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana and wore the leader's golden jersey. In 1999 he finished second in the World's road championship.

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  • Kohl confirms manager bribed anti-doping labs

    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 14:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Tests used to develop doping strategies

    Bernhard Kohl has confirmed reports that his former manager Stefan Matschiner bribed anti-doping laboratories to analyze samples in order to determine how best to avoid a positive doping control.

    Matschiner "had samples analysed so that we knew how far we could go and still not be caught,“ Kohl told Austrian newspaper Kurier.

    Kohl said he had two samples tested, one for EPO and one for testosterone. "Then I knew: I can inject so-and-so much of each substance."

    Matschiner is a former track athlete and was still heavily involved in the track and field scene. In connection with the track world championships starting this weekend in Berlin, he told the German television broadcaster ARD that he had bribed lab workers. He allegedly paid from 150 to 500 Euros per sample.

    In addition, Matschiner said that these forbidden tests were done in labs in central Europe. According to Kurier, labs in that region are in Prague, Czech Republic; Cologne and Kreischa, Germany; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Seibersdorf, Austria. Kurier reported that the Austrian lab was not involved, and Kohl said that he did not know which lab tested his samples.

    The illegally tested samples were designed to help the athletes determine the dosages for "micro-dosing". As Kohl explained: "You know exactly which dose you need in the evening so that the stuff won't be traceable the next morning."

    Matschiner, 34, faces further investigation by the Vienna, Austria, Sonderkommission Doping (Special Commission for Doping).

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  • Dominguez eyeing American crit title

    Ivan Dominguez (Rock Racing) did what he does best to take stage five.
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 20:23 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    New US citizenship qualifies him for stars & stripes

    Ivan Dominquez has been one of the top sprinters in the United States for a decade, but after years of victories he is now eligible, for the first time, to sprint for the stars and stripes jersey at the US Pro Criterium Championships held in Downers Grove on Sunday.

    Dominguez defected from Cuba to the United States in 1998 after his beginnings as a track competitor. He has capitalized off an almost unbeatable sprint to win many of the most prestigious races in the country, competing over the years with former professional teams like Saturn, Health Net-Maxxis, Colavita-Bolla and Toyota-United. After a mid-season switch from the Fuji-Servetto ProTour team, Dominguez competes for Rock Racing.

    He was granted US citizenship in February which allows him to race for the championship jersey this weekend. The ‘open' style event allows for non-US citizens racing for professional American teams to compete. Although he has competed on the Downers Grove course on eight occasions, he has never won the bunch sprint and hopes that this will be his winning year.

    "I would like to win it, like any other US guy," Dominguez said. "It depends how the field is this weekend. We also have [defending champion Rashaan] Bahati. I feel good but he is much better than me in these situations. The course suits him better. We will go for him 100 percent unless he's not feeling good, and then I'll try."

    Dominguez makes it no secret that the championship's technical figure-eight circuit is not well-suited to his abilities. However, he should not be discounted as a race favorite having won the previous day's ‘warm-up' race on two occasions, which uses the same circuit.

    "I've won the day before twice but never the championships race," said Dominguez. "I will race on Saturday too, but this time I will try not to kill myself in that one. I usually don't feel good after the warm-up race. This time I will go easy in the warm up race to be fresh for...

  • Eneco Tour offers prologue practice and more

    Tom Boonen got his redemption in the Eneco Tour last year - will he repeat?
    Article published:
    August 14, 2009, 21:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian/Dutch race an important tune-up for Vuelta's start in Assen

    The Eneco Tour offers up a paradise for the sprinters over its eight stages, giving our fast men a nice little warm-up in the week before the Vuelta a Espana. Conveniently, the Vuelta makes its Dutch depart in Assen just four days and 150km from the Eneco Tour's final stage in Amersfoort.

    Taking in some of the best riding across the Netherlands and Belgium, this stage race is often decided on the final time trial, and frequently by a matter of mere seconds.

    The opening prologue will closely mirror that of the Vuelta, and will be an important test for any rider hoping to hone his form for the flat, fast opener of the Spanish Tour.

    For the past two years, it has been Spaniard José Iván Gutierrez who has taken home the overall prize in the Eneco Tour, although the race also serves as a prime morale booster for the sprinters as they prepare for the Spanish Grand Tour.

    And who could use a morale boost more than Quick Step's Tom Boonen? After a glorious spring where he once again took home the famed cobble for winning Paris-Roubaix, he tested positive for cocaine and had to sue his way into the Tour de France.

    Through either fate or fatigue, Boonen failed to make a show at all in July and dropped out of the Tour with a virus. Despite his party-boy image, he is still quite popular in his home country and will have plenty of supporters looking to see him get back to winning in the Eneco Tour.

    The prologue will clearly favour Gutierrez, who has shown his form in a similar start last year. But thanks to the proximity to the Vuelta, he'll have some strong competition.

    Garmin's Bradley Wiggins, Columbia-HTC's Edvald Boasson Hagen and Tony Martin, the rejuvenated Hungarian turned Frenchman Laszlo Bodrogi (Katusha) or even dual track world champion Alex Rasmussen could all have a shot at taking the first leader's jersey in the 4.5km test.

    Stage 1 will do little to spread out the general...

  • Norway names preliminary Worlds road team

    Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    August 15, 2009, 11:21 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Full squad of nine for road race

    The Norwegian Cycling Federation (NCF) will send a full team to next month's World championships after it announced its preliminary team for the event on Friday.

    National coach Steffen Kjaergaard has selected eight of the nine riders who will compete for the Scandinavian nation in the road race on September 27.

    The NCF had confirmed on Monday that Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) would form part of the squad.

    The six riders so far confirmed to ride alongside Hushovd and Boassen Hagen will be Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Saxo Bank), Gabriel Rasch (Cervélo), Frederik Wilmann (Joker Bianchi), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Joker Bianchi), Stian Remme (Joker Bianchi) and Håvard Nybø (Sparebanken Vest).

    The final position on the team will be filled by either Roy Hegreberg (Sparebanken Vest) or Svein Erik Vold (Joker Bianchi).

    Norway's representatives in the time trial are expected to be announced later this month.

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  • Victorian Womens Criterium champs marred by crash

    Beth Canny from Victoria is attended to after a wild crash approaching the finish to the womens' criterium.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2009, 15:36 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Three riders hospitalised after pile-up

    While Jenny MacPherson claimed the 2009 Victorian Open Women's Criterium championship in Geelong on Saturday, the race was overshadowed by a massive crash in the final 300 metres of the race. Three riders were taken to hospital following the pile-up that involved 12 of the competitors.

    "There were bikes spinning, flying in the air, doing 360s and knocking riders off," said Martin Millwood from Shimano's neutral service team. "Girls were going over handlebars, and about a dozen bikes ended up with damaged handlebars, saddles and wheels. It’s the most spectacular crash I’ve ever seen."

    Ballarat’s Beth Canny, fellow Victorian Emy Huntsman and West Australian Rebecca Halliday suffered severe injuries and were taken to hospital after initial treatment by paramedics at the scene.

    Huntsman and Halliday both suffered broken collarbones and Canny was treated for multiple minor injuries. Several other riders received medical attention for grazing and deep cuts.

    "It’s the worst crash I’ve attended to in 35 years in women’s racing," said medical officer Bobby Hall afterwards.

    The start of the men's criterium - part of the GMHBA Tour of Geelong – was delayed as medical crews worked to stabilise the riders injured in the accident. Robert Doyle (Prime Estate Buyers Agents) immediately withdrew from the men’s race to remain close to girlfriend Beth Canny while she received treatment.

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  • Cooke expected to race with British national squad

    Nicole Cooke wins her 10th British championships.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2009, 18:06 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Worlds contingency plans being formed after Vision 1 folds

    Current Olympic and World road race champion Nicole Cooke is expected to line up next week with the British national squad at the GP de Plouay-Bretagne after the virtual collapse of her trade team, Vision 1 Racing.

    British newspaper The Guardian reported on Friday that Cooke is likely to return to the British national squad as she makes final preparations to defend her World Championship title next month in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    Earlier this month Vision 1 Racing cancelled the remainder of its 2009 racing schedule citing financial problems, after less than twelve months in existence. The team was set up by Cooke and former Swift Racing manager Stefan Wyman in October 2008 and had been designed as a development squad for younger riders. Wyman left the squad in May this year.

    Despite the financial woes of her trade team and recent illness, Cooke has shown glimpses of the form that saw her win both the World and Olympic titles last year. She won a stage on her the overall title Giro del Trentino Alto Adige and took her tenth British national road race championship in June.

    The penultimate round of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) women's World Cup series, the GP de Plouay-Bretagne, will take place on August 22. She currently sits 18th in the UCI's World Cup standings, with 65 points.

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  • Astana reconfirms Contador's role for 2010

    Alberto Contador waits patiently for proceedings to kick off in Surhuisterveen.
    Article published:
    August 15, 2009, 21:14 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Tour-winning team notes Spaniard's contractual obligations

    Following rumors circulating that Alberto Contador may change teams for 2010, his current Astana team reconfirmed that the two-time Tour de France winner would stay on its roster for next season.

    "Prior to the 2008 season, Contador signed a three-year contract with Team Astana, ensuring that the rider will represent the Kazakh sponsored team for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010," read a statement from Team Astana.

    Kazakh sponsors are excited about Team Astana's future with Contador. "Our sponsors are keen to continue with the Team at least till the end of 2013. It is clear that Alberto Contador will be our absolute leader of the Team for next season," said Rinus Wagtmans, official spokesperson for the Kazakh authorities.

    "We are surprised to read that many other teams have reportedly shown their intention to engage our Tour winner when he remains under contract. A transfer is not negotiable and we will honor the signed contract. We look forward to more victories from Alberto in 2010."

    Wagtmans said that in addition, he'd spoken with the team's General Manager Johan Bruyneel about what has been a successful 2009 season thus far.

    "Johan has ensured that he, as well as all riders and staff of the Team are looking forward to the remaining part of the season and are hopeful for more victories."

    Contador has had a turbulent season at Astana. He is contracted to the Kazakh squad for another year, but has previously expressed his desire to break free and leave the squad at the end of the current season. Last month he turned down a lucrative contract-extension offer from Astana and has publicly stated the importance of moving to a team where he would be supported as sole leader.

    On Friday, Contador discussed the possibilities of a move to Caisse d'Epargne, but acknowledged that he had some contract difficulties to overcome. The Spaniard said that he had received plenty of offers, but he declined to name which teams...