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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, December 31, 2011

Date published:
December 31, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Cavendish: Millar's Olympic ban should be overturned

    Millar (right) was a key factor in Cavendish's Road World Championship win
    Article published:
    December 30, 2011, 10:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    British rider has been punished enough for doping offences

    He was a key component in Great Britain's success at the 2011 Road World Championships in Copenhagen, where he was part of the team that delivered Mark Cavendish to victory. But as things stand, David Millar will be unable to compete at the London 2012 Olympics due to the lifetime ban imposed on him by the British Olympic Association (BOA) for his positive dope test in 2004.

    The BOA's strict stance is at odds with WADA guidelines and with the rest of the world, and Cavendish has spoken out in defence of Millar, who has been a prominent anti-doping campaigner over the last few years. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) are set to rule on the BOA's ban early next year. Cavendish, who was recently crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year, stated that Millar has served his punishment and needs to be part of the lineup in London if Great Britain are to win gold in the road race. Millar's strengths are obvious and would certainly be invaluable to the team. The 35-year-old is the only British rider to wear the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours, and his all-round ability has seen him don all three major jerseys in the Tour de France.

    "Dave has redeemed himself. I would love him to be at London 2012," Cavendish told the BBC. "He cheated but he has realised what he did and learned a lot. He's a massive anti-doping campaigner. He's a good friend of mine and an incredible bike rider - incredible.

    "If we want to win the Olympic road race, we need Dave. If you want to win and make history, you need a group of people around you. As with Copenhagen, there couldn't have been anybody else I would rather have been with than those seven guys and everybody else that...

  • Two more rosters finalised for 2012 Tour Down Under

    Luke Roberts will return home for the 2012 Tour Down Under
    Article published:
    December 30, 2011, 13:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Saxo Bank and Garmin-Cervelo reveal riders

    Team Saxo Bank and Garmin-Cervelo have confirmed their rosters for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under next month. The race is to be staged in Adelaide and regional South Australia from January 15-22.

    Race director Mike Turtur said that he was particularly looking forward to seeing local boy Luke Roberts (Team Saxo Bank) making an appearance in front of his own fans, while he also looked ahead to Roberts’ fellow Australian Jonathan Cantwell making his debut for the team.

    "Being a South Australian, it is always something special to watch Roberts in the peloton competing for victory in his hometown," Turtur
    said. It will also be great to see Cantwell make his debut with Saxo Bank at our race. With 37 victories in his career, most in Australia and the US, it will be interesting to see the impression he can make on the WorldTour stage in 2012."

    New Team Saxo Bank recruit, Takashi Miyazawa, will be the first Japanese rider in the history of the Santos Tour Down Under, while Garmin-Cervelo also confirmed their roster. Allan Peiper will manage the team.

    Team Saxo Bank roster for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under:

    Sergio Paulinho (POR)
    Anders Lund (DEN)
    Luke Roberts (AUS)
    Jaroslaw Marycz (POL)
    Jonas Jorgensen (DEN)
    Jonathan Cantwell (AUS)
    Takashi Miyazawa (JPN)

    Garmin-Cervelo roster for the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under:

    Ryder Hesjedal (CAN)
    Jack Bauer (NZL)
    Robbie Hunter (RSA)
    Nathan Haas (AUS)
    Heinrich Haussler (AUS)
    Andreas Klier (GER)
    Martijn Maaskant (NED)

  • Cobo signs two-year Movistar deal

    Juan Jose Cobo won the 2011 Vuelta
    Article published:
    December 30, 2011, 14:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    2011 Vuelta winner rejoins former manager Unzue Eusebio

    With his former team GEOX-TMC having folded, Spanish rider Juan Jose Cobo has opted to join Movistar Team for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Cobo will again link up with his former boss Unzue Eusebio, who was in charge of Caisse d'Epargne when Cobo was part of their ranks in 2010. Cobo's performances that year were hindered by a bout of depression and he is eager to make up for lost time.

    Cobo made his major breakthrough at last year's Vuelta a Espana, winning the race after been granted a wildcard entry. It was one of the most exciting races of the year, with Cobo's winning by a margin of just 13 seconds from Chris Froome. The Spaniard first shot to prominence at the 2008 Tour de France by winning stage 10 of that race.

    "I am very pleased as Movistar Team is one of the best teams in the world and will give me the opportunity to be in the biggest races on the calendar," Cobo said. "In 2010 I ran to Unzué's orders and things did not go well. I think we were both left disappointed by that and I'm sure everything will be better. I am excited and eager to be ready with my new teammates."

  • Evans, Wiggins and Contador to podium in Tour de France, McEwen says

    Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) is well-versed in the art of podium celebration.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2011, 19:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Course doesn't favour Schlecks, Australian claims

    Robbie McEwen says that Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Alberto Contador are the top favourites for the 2012 Tour de France, with Tony Martin and Levi Leipheimer rounding out the top five. Andy and Fränk Schleck have no chance with the few mountaintop finishes and many time trial kilometres, the Australian said.

    "I would say the main contenders when you look at the course - those two long time trials - are Cadel, Wiggo and Contador,” he told the AAP news agency.

    "You never know, maybe a guy like (Germany's) Tony Martin also and I wouldn't completely discount (American) Levi Leipheimer - they're my five guys.

    "The Schlecks are really at a disadvantage with their lack of time trialling ability. That makes it very, very difficult for them next year."

    McEwen picked his countryman and former teammate Evans to take the title again. Evans was the strongest rider this year in the race, showing his strength at both the Galibier mountaintop finish and the Grenoble time trial.

    Evans was also lucky that nothing serious went wrong, McEwen pointed out. “You maybe don't need to have a lot of good luck, but you just have got to not have any bad luck," McEwen said.

    McEwen, 39, will ride for the newly formed GreenEdge team in the coming season, but only for the early part of the year. He will then hang his bike on the wall and serve as a scout for the team, helping out at the Tour.

    "If I can give them some insight into the course, the wind direction, the best side of the road to sprint on and they win by a millimetre, then that sort of advice could have played an important role," he said.

  • Cyclingnews' guide to Australia's January road season

    They're off on stage one of the 2011 Jayco Bay Classic Cycling Series
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 9:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Your guide to summer Down Under

    Jayco Bay Cycling Classic

    Could there be a better way to kick off the new year than with a no-holds-barred criterium at Geelong's Eastern Beach? We think not! The annual Jayco Bay Cycling Classic begins January 1 and once again some of the fastest men and women in the world will take on the four-race series.

    The 'Bay Crits' mark the start of the start of the Australian summer of cycling and the series is an important marker for the two events to follow.

    Preview | 2011 Jayco Bay Cycling Classic | Previous winners 

    Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships

    You little ripper: Jack Bobridge's cycling CV just went up a notch, his super ride around Buninyong to hold off any challengers was appreciated by the thousands who witnessed it.Four days of spectacular racing kicks off on January 5 at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships with the nation's best cyclists fighting it out in criterium, road race and time trial disciplines in the historic centre of Ballarat, Victoria.

    While the man deemed Australia's best, Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, won't be there, there is no shortage of talent among the whopping 641 entries. In fact, Evans' last appearance at the championships was in 2005 when they were held in South Australia. Nine titles will be decided in 2012 with 376...

  • Rolland is as good as the Schlecks, says Bernaudeau

    Pierre Rolland celebrates his Alpe d'Huez triumph
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 10:34 GMT
    Pierre Carrey

    Europcar boss wary of echelons in Tour's opening week

    Five months after his outstanding Tour de France, Pierre Rolland is facing high expectations, especially from his French compatriots who have been looking for a successor to Bernard Hinault since 1985. “In 2012, vote Pierre Rolland!” read the headline of Vélo Magazine in August, referring to the French presidential election of May 2012. The Europcar all-rounder, who started the 2011 Tour de France as Thomas Voeckler's guardian angel, qualified for the second round as it were, as he captured the Alpe d'Huez stage and the best young rider's jersey, finally finishing 11th overall.

    Since then, supporters and even his own entourage have struggled to get Rolland to reveal his goals for the 2012 season. He gives a very few interviews and seems to protect himself. However, Jean-René Bernaudeau, his manager, told Cyclingnews that his protégé is “much stronger in his head and quite likes the pressure”.

    “This year's Tour de France helped Pierre a lot,” Team Europcar's manager said. “Thomas’ [Voeckler] yellow jersey transcended him. For a while, my boys had been subjected and now they could express themselves. Part of Pierre's strength in the mountains is due to the morale boost he felt when he was seeing good riders dropped out of his group. It’s a question of endorphin rush!”

    Bernaudeau hopes Rolland's spirit and ambition will be the same in 2012. Yet he knows nothing guarantees him a better or even similar performance. In 1979, Bernaudeau himself finished 5th in the Tour, aged 23, and was trumpeted as a serious opponent to Bernard Hinault. In the years that followed, he never did better than coming 6th on two occasions.

    “Cycling is not an exact science, but Pierre is lucky in that it's a sport of mature...

  • Bewley poised to replace McEwen at GreenEdge?

    Sam Bewley (RadioShack) was in the hot seat for much of the prologue and ultimately finished third.
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 12:05 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Kiwi’s first priority is in London Olympic velodrome

    New Zealand's Sam Bewley has a big year ahead on the track with the London Olympic Games on the horizon. However, the multi-talented rider 24-year-old still has options on the road despite having been left without a team following the merger between RadioShack and Leopard-Trek.

    GreenEdge general manager Shayne Bannan confirmed to Cyclingnews that Bewley was in the frame to fill the void in the roster which will occur with the retirement of Robbie McEwen following his final pro race, likely to be the Tour of California in May.

    Bewley graduated to the RadioShack squad for the 2010 season having spent 2009 with Trek-LiveStrong. In a neat twist, Bewley was a key lead out man for McEwen in his final race for the American team late in the season, delivering the Australian sprinter to victory in two stages of Circuit Franco-Belge. Bewley was coy when discussing the move with Cyclingnews, saying that his first priority in the new year was the New Zealand track team for the London Games before considering his next move on the road.

    "I have spoken to them [GreenEdge] and we're still sorting that out," he explained. "It's going to be my last year on the track and I really want to give London a go.

    "Honestly I can't say too much, I don't think it's my place. It's going to be a good team for sure. It's going to be a team that gets results straight away. It looks like a good outfit."

    Bewley's contract was up at the end of 2011 and he said "it wasn't totally unexpected" that he failed to make the cut for the merged entity given his strong track focus for 2012.

    "There was always going to be people that missed out and I was one of them," Bewley told Cyclingnews. "It's...

  • Turpin to continue racing in Guadeloupe

    Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    December 31, 2011, 13:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Veteran Frenchman released by Saur-Sojasun

    Ludovic Turpin will continue his racing career at a lower level and in novel surrounds in 2012 after accepting an offer to ride for a club in Guadeloupe. The veteran Frenchman had appeared set to hang up his wheels after Saur-Sojasun decided not to renew his contract at the end of last season but he will instead line up in the colours of Union Sportive Cyclist de Goyave.

    “It’s a life choice and a personal choice,” Turpin told France Antilles. “I wanted to come to Guadeloupe, it’s a project that I’ve had in mind for five years, since I came here on holiday.”

    The 36-year-old Turpin spent all bar one of his twelve seasons as a professional at Vincent Lavenu’s Ag2r team, before joining Saur-Sojasun at the beginning of 2011. His biggest win came at the Dauphiné in 2006, when he captured the stage into Briançon ahead of Iban Mayo and his teammate Francisco Mancebo.

    Five times a finisher at the Tour de France, Turpin will look to bring his wealth of experience to the Caribbean. According to Ouest France, US Goyave’s main objective will be the Tour de Guadeloupe, but the squad also aims to compete in France later in the season.

    “I’m going to serve as a guide perhaps, but that doesn’t bother me,” Turpin said. “If I can bring my experience and professionalism, I’ll do it gladly.”