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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 12, 2009

Date published:
December 12, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Gasparotto ready to prove place in Astana

    Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre-NGC)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2009, 18:37 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Italian aims for Tirreno and Sanremo, Vino for Liège

    Enrico Gasparotto is ready to prove his place at Astana after joining from Lampre. Speaking to Cyclingnews from the Astana team camp in Pisa, Italy, the former Lampre rider said that he has the responsibility to lead the team in Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo.

    "It is similar to being with team Barloworld, I was captain in a small team and they asked for results. Here is the same, but they are asking for results in different, and more important races like Amstel, Flèche, Liège and the Giro d'Italia."

    Gasparotto, 27, will start his season at Portugal's Volta ao Algarve or in Spain in February. He said he wants to win immediately in order to prove to Astana his worth. He passed this season with out a win. His first big goal is to win a stage and possibly race for the overall classification of the Tirreno-Adriatico in March. From there he will compete for his dream race win, Milano-Sanremo.

    "Vino told me that I will have my freedom at Sanremo. It is an important chance," continued Gasparotto. "The team changed a lot from this year; they have desire and the need for success. They are giving me responsibility to win certain races."

    Vinokourov met Gasparotto when he was training in Livorno, Italy, about three years ago. The two have remained in contact and formed an important bond that will help at the Ardennes Classics in April.

    "Vino will aim for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He will be the leader and I will give him a hand there. Then we have to decide for Amstel Gold and Flèche Wallonne, but I believe I will have my space."

    Gasparotto left Italy's team Lampre after one year. He worked at the Ardennes Classics for Damiano Cunego, who placed in the top ten of all three races.

    He became professional in 2004 and won the Italian Championships in 2005. He raced with Liquigas from 2005 to 2007 and with Barloworld in 2008.

     

  • Vande Velde once again Garmin's sole Tour leader

    Christian Vande Velde paces Garmin-Slipstream teammate Bradley Wiggins up the Col de la Colombière.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2009, 19:07 GMT
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters looks to podium in Paris

    With Bradley Wiggins' departure to Team Sky, Christian Vande Velde will be Garmin-Transitions' unrivalled GC leader at the Tour de France in 2010. Vande Velde and Wiggins shared the captaincy in this year's Tour de France with Wiggins - one of the revelation of the race - finishing fourth and Vande Velde eighth.

    Vande Velde is currently training with his Canadian teammate Ryder Hesjedal in Hawaii before he returns to the team's base in Girona, Spain in January. It's a change in practice for the American who spent much of last winter training indoors, due to atrocious winter conditions at his Chicago-area residence.

    "We're doing some good training but we're mainly avoiding the bad weather," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews. "It's negative 16 [Celsius] back home and it's going to be 30 degrees here. I can't complain. We're just having a good time. We're doing some nice climbs and it's just easy to ride your bike as opposed to laborious when you've got to go into your basement and ride your trainer."

    Despite the ideal training conditions outside his Hawaii door, Vande Velde still had to deal with the news on Thursday that Wiggins had signed for Team Sky. However, after a protracted transfer, Vande Velde is relieved that he can focus on the year ahead. "Sky approached Brad a long time ago. But my personal opinion after reading the news is a bit of relief. I just wanted to know one way or another who was going to be on the team and who wasn't. I saw the pictures and he's got the Pinarello bike, so he's not here next year but in a weird way it's a relief."

    Although criticism has been levelled at Sky for their transfer tactics and Dave Brailsford telling journalists at a press conference that, "If it’s a choice of having Bradley Wiggins on the team and keeping European teams happy, I’ll have Bradley Wiggins every time," Vande Velde was full of praise for Wiggins' professionalism during what was obviously a taxing time...

  • Austria adopts new anti-doping laws

    blank
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 11:56 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Prison terms, cut-off or repayment of federal funding now possible

    The Austrian Parliament has voted unanimously to adopt new and harder anti-doping laws in the country. The new regulations provide for the possibility of up to three years' imprisonment, and provide that athletes and support staff who are suspended could be permanently cut off from further federal funding.

    “This action is a milestone in the fight against doping,” said Austrian Sport Minister Norbert Darabos in a statement issued on Friday night. He said that the new law should have “a clear preventative effect against doping in Austria. Athletes and their advisers will now think twice before they step on the dishonest road of doping. I will do all I can to see that these regulations also become the international standard.”

    Under the new law, those who are suspended would also have a lifelong ban on receiving federal sports funding, and could be required to pay back any such funding received after the time of the doping. Suspended athletes who wish to return to their sport must be available for doping controls for one year before they return, an increase from six months.

    In addition, doping with a damage of more than 100 Euros will be considered a major fraud, and is punishable with up to three years in prison.

  • Namur to bid for 2014 World Championships

    The peloton winds its way through Wallonian countryside.
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 12:04 GMT
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Wallonian proposal could see face-off with Flandrian compatriots

    Officials from the Wallonian region of Belgium have announced that the city of Namur will bid for the right to host the 2014 International Cycling Union (UCI) World road Championships.

    Namur's bid could see them go up against the Flandrian city of Hooglede-Gits, which earlier this month announced its plans to pitch for the 2013 or 2014 World Championships. Speaking about the Wallonian bid, the region's Minister for Sport André Antoine told HLN.be that the Worlds' programme could be spread across the whole country.

    "The Belgian Cycling Union is interested. The event could be divided between the north and the south of the country; that seems fair," he said. "Namur would host the professional [elite] events, while the other tests could take place in Flanders."

    From 2012 onwards, the World road Championships will feature an expanded programme that will include a team time trial and the incorporation of the Junior World Championships. Apart from the practical aspects of the event, Antoine indicated that the costs of the estimated 10 million Euros required to host the Championships "should be spread across Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels."

    HLN.be reports that France is also preparing to make bid for the 2014 World Championships. The last World Championships to be held in France were held in the city of Plouay in 2000, where Latvian Romāns Vainšteins claimed the elite men's road title.

    Belgium last hosted the World Championships in 2002, when Italian Mario Cipollini triumphed in Zolder.

    The 2010 UCI World road Championships will take place in Geelong, Australia.
     

  • WADA frustrated by Spanish courts in Operación Puerto case

    John Fahey (right) with former WADA President Dick Pound
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 12:15 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Eventual release of evidence still possible, WADA confident riders will be caught

    World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President John Fahey says his agency is “very frustrated” at the latest refusal by a Spanish court to turn over evidence gathered during Operación Puerto.

    The Provincial Court of Madrid on Friday dismissed an appeal from the WADA and the International Cycling Union (UCI) to release the blood bags taken into custody during the investigation, which could have led to the identification of further riders involved in the case.

    While some Spanish media reports indicated earlier that this was the final possible appeal in the case, later reports indicated that the court only said that the material could not be released while the legal process was underway. This could indicate that the evidence might be released when the Spanish investigation is finished.

    "WADA continues to be very frustrated by the slow wheels of Spanish justice in this case," Fahey said in a statement, according to the Reuters news agency. “We continue to emphasise that the evidence gathered by law enforcement during the investigation needs to be preserved for sharing with sport and anti-doping authorities."

    Fahey concluded, "Although we are frustrated, we remain optimistic that proper outcomes still await those athletes - and any member of their entourage - who might have been cheating."

  • Vinokourov confirms Giro, desire to race Tour

    Alberto Contador and Alexander Vinokourov have a chat during the Astana team training camp in Pisa, Italy.
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 12:33 GMT
    By:
    Gregor Brown

    Kazakh pledges support for Contador at Tour, if ASO allows him

    Alexander Vinokourov confirmed his goals at a team Astana press conference on Friday in Pisa, Italy. He wants to be competitive in the Giro d'Italia, the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France.

    "I am giving myself 100 per cent to the Giro now and then I hope I am going to the Tour de France. For me it would be a big pleasure to return to the Tour of France. I want to help Alberto Contador win," Vinokourov said.

    Kazakhstan's Vinokourov helped create the team with financial backers from his home country in 2006. His positive test for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France forced him out of the team and cycling for two years. He returned to racing in August with Astana, winning three races.

    He will start competition again at the Tour Méditerranéen, 10-14 February. He will then race Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo, the Ardennes Classics and the Giro d'Italia, May 8 to 30.

    "I will start the Giro for the first time, without pressure; [I'll take it] step-by-step. If I have good condition and motivation then maybe I can arrive on the podium. There is not a long time trial, which would suit me.

    "There are lots of mountain stages, but if I have good condition then all is possible. If not then I will just aim for a stage win."

    Vinokourov, 36, confirmed his other goal is to win the Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic for a second time. Winner of the Ardennes Classic in 2005, he is confident he can race both Liège and the Tour even if the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) owns both races and may not be eager to have him back.

    "The team is number one in the world; the team must always be at the start. I hope ASO accepts me at Liège, Critérium International and the Tour. I already won at ASO's GP Nation time trial this year, and I hope to have another chance to start their races."

    Astana finishes its training camp in Pisa on Wednesday. Vinokourov...

  • Garmin-Transitions hit the town in NYC

    David Millar, Jonathan Vaughters and Tyler Farrar on stage
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 14:13 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vaughters, Millar, Farrar head out in support of local development program

    Garmin-Transitions's Jonathan Vaughters, David Millar and Tyler Farrar let their hair down on Thursday night in New York as they appeared as special guests at an event organised by NY Velocity to raise funds for the Century Road Club Association's (CRCA) junior development program.

    Garmin manager Vaughters acted as master of ceremonies for proceedings at the 'Plaid Men Roller Party' in Manhattan. The evening saw the track replaced with rollers as local riders took part in a series of sprint events amid boisterous support.

    The evening was organised to raise funds for the CRCA junior development program. The oldest cycle and racing club in the United States, the CRCA's junior program provides support for under-19 riders.

    Click here for a gallery of images from the event.
     

  • Fuglsang motivated for second ProTour season

    Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 15:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Danish rider hopes for a Tour de France start in 2010

    Voted Denmark's cyclist of the year by a selection of his country's media, Saxo Bank's Jakob Fuglsang said the recognition “gives me morale” as he heads into his second season in the ProTour. The 24-year-old noted that, “there is nothing more satisfying that to fulfill the goals you have set for yourself.”

    In only his first ProTour year, the young Dane won the Tour of Denmark and the Tour of Slovenia, as well as three top-three stage results at his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España. His efforts saw him voted the Danish rider of the year by Danish TV2 and www.feltet.dk.

    "It is a recognition of me as a rider and it's valuable to me that people notice the good results I'm doing.” he said on the Saxo Bank website. “In my generation of riders there's a huge potential and we could almost build a competitive Tour de France line-up if we were on the same team.”

    The former mountain biker also put in a top performance at the Dauphiné Libéré, where “it was a bold and almost surreal experience to be out there with Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador on the Mont Ventoux where I was even able to put pressure on them both in their own terrain.”

    He has a simple explanation for his participation in the sport: "I love cycling. That is why I do it. To ride out and enjoy the terrain; the prospect of mountain peaks is an important part of training.” He continued, “Even on rest days I am often riding longer than scheduled, because I just want to get up on top of a mountain and enjoy the scenery. I could not imagine ever stopping training.”

    After his good results this year, Fuglsang hopes to break into the team's Tour de France squad next year. Team owner Bjarne Riis and he “have had a small talk about my chances of doing the Ardennes Classics and the Tour de France, but there are things to be improved in order to be...