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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 25, 2010

Date published:
December 25, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Pegasus Sports hits back at UCI

    Cheers for Fly V Australia!
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 14:33 GMT
    Cycling News

    With timeline of application process, team says it met UCI's rules

    Pegasus Sports manager Chris White issued a statement today refuting the UCI's assertion that the team had been "unprofessional" in its bid to gain first a ProTeam license and then, after being ranked outside the top 20 teams and therefore ineligible, a Professional Continental license.

    The team were denied the second division registration by the UCI, forcing riders to seek other teams although White has said he may continue the project as a Continental team. Some of its star riders have already signed other contracts - Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter have gone to Team RadioShack and Dominique Cornu signed with Topsport Vlaanderen.

    White said, "We were taken aback and extremely disappointed by the urgency and unprecedented action of the UCI to issue a press release that severely tarnished the image of Pegasus Sports without first giving us the courtesy of an explanation."

    The statement says the team has not yet received an explanation for the denial of the license from the UCI, and the only information came from the press release issued by that organisation yesterday.

    The Australian insisted the team had adhered to the UCI's procedures for the license application and provided a timeline of documents submitted to back up his claim.

    He said that after the UCI's press release it was imperative to share the facts. "Our goal is to be transparent and honest… We don’t want to get into a boxing match or a mudslinging contest. However, we will protect our name and integrity so we can move on to creating a viable racing program."

    The team was initially structured around an 'equity' guarantee by a major shareholder, he explained. White confirmed to Cyclingnews that Pegasus Sports was to be bankrolled by Gillett family. They pulled his support on December 7, "due to a number of factors external to Pegasus Sports", just days before the UCI's licensing procedure ended.

    White would not say...

  • Bretagne-Schuller a candidate for the Tour de France

    Florian Vachon (Bretagne - Schuller)
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 17:10 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Blévin believes in young team's wildcard chances

    Bretagne-Schuller, the soon-to-be Pro Continental French team, is aiming at a Tour de France place in 2011. Manager Joël Blévin told Cyclingnews that although he hasn't yet sent an official request to ASO, his squad is a candidate for all the ASO's events next year, including Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, the Ardennes Classics and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    "It's not just a dream and it won’t be a scandal if we don’t have a wild card next year, but we have got real assets like our sporting level, our ethics, our young image and our Breton identity," Blévin said.

    The manager knows that the fight will be hard because ASO will probably offer four wildcards and all the five French teams registered as Pro Continental - Cofidis, Française des Jeux, Europcar, Saur-Sojasun and Bretagne-Schuller - will want to ride the Tour.

    Despite a budget of between 50 and 300 percent less than their rivals, Bretagne-Schuller is confident of its wild card chances.

    "Why not?" implored Blévin. "What has Europcar or Saur-Sojasun [the other team based in Brittany - ed.] got that we haven’t? They have one or two leaders like Thomas Voeckler than I can't recruit, but we need nine riders for a Tour de France roster..." Blévin recalled the team spirit that helped Bretagne-Schuller win the 2010 French Cup and the Boucles de l'Aulne-GP du Télégramme double.

    Emmanuel Hubert, the team’s directeur sportif, explained that the 'baby brother' of the French peloton could add spice in the Tour de France. "The same happened with my former team [Agritubel - ed.]," he said.

    "Nobody expected Brice Feillu as a stage winner in Andorre-Arcalis [at the 2009 Tour de France] and he did it. Bretagne-Schuller has got dedicated riders who can show themselves in the Tour."

    The Breton brigade signed experienced riders as Sylvain Calzati (Team Sky) and Eric...

  • Knetemann's family name carried on with Skil-Koga

    Gerrie Knetemann passed away in 2004.
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 18:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Daughter of Dutch legend joins new women's team

    25 years on from Dutch legend Gerrie Knetemann's Amstel Gold victory, his name will be carried on with the same sponsor that graced his jersey that year by his daughter Roxane, who will ride with the new Skil-Koga women's team. The elder Knetemann rode for Skil-Sem in 1985 when he won his home country's biggest race.

    23-year-old Roxane said on the team's web site that she failed to recognize the significance of the team's sponsor until she was reminded by a teammate. "I was just happy we could take a step up as a team. It’s great to be able to benefit from the same support and equipment facilities as the Skil-Shimano team. It only really sank in when my teammate Hannah Welter asked me how it was to ride for the same sponsor my father used to ride for.”

    While she had yet to be born that year, Knetemann said the Amstel Gold win is one of the few they have on video. "He had already won the Amstel Gold Race, but that victory was very special because he’d fallen badly two years earlier in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and there was a question mark over whether he would ever get back to his best. So him winning was very emotional, for the whole family really. I get goose pimples when I see the pictures.”

    After her father's death in 2004, Knetemann said she struggled to get back to the top level of the sport, but hopes she is back on track. "I am really looking forward to the new season and riding in a Skil jersey in 2011 is certainly an extra boost. It would be nice to secure a great win like that in that jersey.”

    The Skil-Koga team consists of eight women, and will be run under the same umbrella as the Professional Continental men's team Skil-Shimano.

    Other riders are Regina Bruins, Suzanne de Goede, Amy Pieters, Marte Lenferink, Hannah Welter and Roxane Knetemann, Christina Becker and Alison Terstroete.

    The team is scheduled to debut at the women's Tour of Qatar. Regina Bruins suffered a...

  • Valverde wants to return to the top in 2012

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) hoists the Tour of Romandie winner's trophy aloft
    Article published:
    December 24, 2010, 19:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Suspended Spaniard still training like a pro

    Alejandro Valverde is still coming to terms with the fact that he will not be in the peloton in 2011, but is aiming to get back to the top of the sport when his ban ends in 2012.

    In an interview with the Spanish magazine Meta2Mil, Valverde revealed he has been training as if he were still racing, "because if you go a year without racing it is difficult to return to the front.  My weight was 61 kilos, now I'm 63.5, so I'm fine," he said.

    Valverde was the world's number one ranked rider when he was suspended after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in favor of the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency, who had argued that evidence of Valverde's involvement in Operación Puerto was sufficient to warrant a suspension for an anti-doping rule violation.

    He said that his two-year suspension was grossly unfair. "[UCI president] Pat McQuaid has said that cases like mine should be punished with a four year suspension. I'm bothered by this comment because it is a tremendous injustice. I'm the only cyclist sanctioned because of Operation Puerto whose name does not appear in the Operación Puerto report carried out by investigators, " he said.

    He told Meta2Mil that he had no doubts he would be able to get back to being the world's top rider once his ban ends. "The break is going to cost me, and I will require some adaptation in the early months of 2012, but after the first three or four months, we will see the best of Alejandro Valverde."

    Valverde raced for six seasons for the team of Eusebio Unzue, and said he would be grateful to return to the new Team Movistar, but said he would see what offers would come.

  • Davis prepares for a busy Spring

    Bronze medalist Allan Davis (Australia)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 4:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian aims for another Milan-San Remo podium

    Australian sprinter Allan Davis is set for a busy and varied Spring that his Astana team hopes will net him another Milan-San Remo podium to go with the one he took in 2007.

    Davis will start the season at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic before competing at the year's first ProTour event, the Santos Tour Down Under. It's then time for Portuguese stage race Volta ao Algarve before heading to Italy for the Strade Bianchi, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.

    Whilst riding for Quick Step Davis finished second in Milan-San Remo behind experienced Spaniard Oscar Freire. Following that result the 30-year-old experienced a lean string of results during the season, the highlight being a second palce in stage seven of the Vuelta a España in Zaragoza.

    The following year saw him race a limited program due to complications that arose from an alleged involvement in Operacion Puerto, which was later rectified and he made a successful return to racing at the 2009 Tour Down Under, winning three stages and the general classification.

    He started 2010 slowly, coming under fire for a lack of condition ahead of his Tour Down Under title defense. The season proved fruitful however, winning a Commonwealth Games gold medal and a bronze medal at the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, during October (pictured).

    Following his early-season racing in Italy, Davis will add a tough Belgian component to his program that includes Ghent-Wevelgem, the Three Days of De Panne, the Tour of Flanders and the Amstel Gold Race.

    Davis is then slated to ride the Tour de France as Astana's sprinter and in preparation for la Grand Boucle he'll be riding the Tour of California and the Dauphiné Libéré stage races.

  • Contador says 2011 will be a historic year

    Alberto Contador shares a joke with Peter Cossins at the Tour of Algarve
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 9:34 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Thanks fans and team for support in Christmas message

    Alberto Contador won't be having his “best Christmas” this year, but is looking forward to a better year in 2011. The three-time Tour de France winner used his Twitter profile to thank his fans and new team, and proclaim good things for the coming year.

    “This will not be my best Christmas, or the quietest,” he Tweeted. “I hope that in 2011 coherence, ethics and truth prevail to do justice,”

    Later, he wrote, “Thank you very much for your great support, you are amazing! Also thanks to by team, Saxo Bank-SunGard, for its confidence.”

    He finished by saying, “Next year will be HISTORIC. Where there's a will there's a way! Merry Christmas all!!!”

    The 28-year-old had a highly successful year, winning the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, before going on to his third victory in the Tour de France. Thereafter things came to crashing halt when it was announced that he had tested positive on the second rest day for Clenbuterol.

    Contador claimed that the positive results came not from doping but from eating contaminated meat. The Spanish cycling federation is expected to rule on his case within the next few weeks. Regardless of how they rule, the decision is expected to be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

  • Rasmussen racing to gather sponsors and money for new team

    Race leader Michael Rasmussen (Tecos Trek)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 10:17 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Christina Watches offers limited edition watch to raise money

    Time trialing has never been Michael Rasmussen's special skill, as he proved in the 2005 Tour de France, but he is now faces his biggest race against the clock as he has only a few weeks to gather enough sponsors and money to ensure that his new team, Christina Watches, will get a UCI license.

    "I'm spending a lot of hours trying to find sponsors for the team. It's all so new and we are so late in the year, it's a race against time to find the funds that will elevate the overall package, “ he told

    The UCI deadline for his application for a Continental-ranking license is January 10, and he must have his financials in place by that time.

    “We have actually 14 days to get answers from the sponsors, and it's pressure because we are now entering the Christmas and holidays, where people just take time off and just don't manage to negotiate and make decisions,” Rasmussen said. “But I have enough to do to keep the dialogue going, because it is me who represents the project and therefore potential partners also know that they can expect to see me at the negotiating table.”

    He already has his bike sponsor lined up, Pinarello, he said.

    Rasmussen said that he has heard from many riders who are interested in riding for his team, but he is still working out the details.

    “It's a little hard to get clarity over when there really is the deadline for awarding rider contracts for a Continental team. It is a little hard to get a clear answer from the Danish Cycling Union (DCU) this point,” he said. .

    DCU President Tom Lund told that Rasmussen would have to get his answers from the UCI. “If the team really builds on the licence application which team M1-Bianchi submitted, then it is an unusual case.”

    Limited Edition watch

    The team is also taking another unusual step. His team and personal...

  • Bruins breaks ankle in training crash

    Cervelo's Regina Bruins was looking relaxed ahead of the race.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 10:35 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch woman debut in Qatar at risk

    Regina Bruins has broken her ankle in a training crash, making her season debut at the Tour of Qatar highly uncertain. The Dutch rider will be out of action for at least six weeks.

    Bruins, 24, rode for Cervelo TestTeam for the last two years, winning a stage at the 2009 Tour de l'Aude and the Grande Boucle. In 2011 she will be with the Skil-Koga team.

    “Our team doctor Edwin Achterberg has examined her and speaks of a clean break,” Skil-Koga team manager Sissy van Alebeek told De Telegraaf. “Regina can expect to use her ankle again in three weeks and return to competition in six weeks.

    “In theory, she could ride Qatar but it wouldn't bring us anything. Most important now is a complete recovery.”