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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 15, 2011

Date published:
January 15, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Sergeant remembers Post as man of style

    Marc Sergeant The directeur sportif of Predictor-Lotto
    Article published:
    January 14, 2011, 23:34 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Lauds Dutchman for inventing team manager's role

    Omega-Pharma Lotto’s Marc Sergeant has paid his respects to Peter Post who died on Friday, at the age of 77.

    Sergeant raced for Post and told Cyclingnews that the Dutchman defined the role of team manager and added a new dynamic to the sport that is still reverberating to this day.

    "He invented the role of a team manager and everyone who loves cycling can think of those jerseys - Raleigh, Panasonic - that means something," Sergeant told Cyclingnews.

    "He was a wildly respected man of style, well organised and I think he gave cycling a new dimension. You suddenly had this one block of riders all riding for each other and that was something completely new. At first he did it with Dutch riders but then slowly he brought in more nationalities and you look at Panasonic and they were a very international team."

    Sergeant signed for Post in 1990, just as the Dutchman shifted from behind the wheel of car and into a higher position of management. Despite that he still had a huge influence on teams and tactics.

    "He became the man behind the manager, who built the team. It was his team."

    "He brought the importance of image to the sport and now of course it’s all about image. Material, clothing, it was all taken care of. It sounds like nothing now but he made sure everyone on the team had a leather jacket with the Panasonic logo on. Everyone loved to wear it and other teams were so envious."

    While Post was highly dedicated to the sport as both a rider and then a team manager he demanded the same from his riders and was known as a strong disciplinarian.

    "He was very demanding but if you make the kinds of efforts like he did then the asked for the same dedication and commitment back. He was known to find the best riders too."

    "He taught teams that if you’re at the front of a race you can control everything. That was a key tactic for us. If we missed the break we...

  • Riis lined up Van Den Broeck as Contador substitute

    Stage race team leader Jurgen Van Den Broeck
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 0:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega-Pharma deal spoiled Dane's contingency plan

    Belgian sensation Jurgen Van Den Broeck has revealed that Bjarne Riis was ready to make him Saxo Bank's Tour de France "Plan B" after Alberto Contador's positive test for clenbuterol.

    Speaking on Friday night at Omega Pharma-Lotto's Majorca training camp, Van Den Broeck said that his agent and Riis discussed a possible deal last year. As the Contador case dragged on and Riis's hands remained tied, however, Van Den Broeck finally opted to sign a three-year contract extension with his present team.

    "Riis spoke to my manager about me going to Saxo Bank as an alternative if Contador got banned," Van Den Broeck, fifth at the 2010 Grande Boucle, confirmed. "I didn't get personally involved in the negotiations, so I don't know exactly how far they went. I just know that it was very flattering that a guy like Riis was interested in me. I couldn't carry on waiting, though, so I extended my contract here."

    On Thursday, Van Den Broeck had insisted that Contador's absence from the 2011 Tour would have little effect on his own prospects in July. He reiterated the claim today, but added that, if the Spaniard isn't on the start-line in France, a whole gaggle of riders might legitimately target overall victory in Paris.

    "If Contador isn't there, every guy who was in the top ten last year is capable of winning the Tour," the 27-year-old commented. "It's going to be strange because anything can happen. Every guy thinks this is his big chance. I don't know who will control the race – you could get a situation like in 2006, when [Oscar] Pereiro went away. It will be a lot more aggressive than last year."

    UCI president Pat McQuaid admitted earlier this week that it was "a possibility" that Contador will miss the Tour due to sanctions imposed by the Spanish Cycling Federation or even appeals against their verdict if the three-time Tour champion is found innocent.

  • Sagan ready to target spring classics

    Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) impressed in 2010.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 0:44 GMT
    Cycling News

    Young Slovakian to lead Liquigas-Cannondale classics squad

    Peter Sagan was widely considered the best neo-pro of 2010 after winning two stages at Paris-Nice and at the Tour of California. He will only be 21 on January 26 but those results and an instinctive, aggressive style of racing have made him the leader of the Liquigas-Cannondale classic team.

    Sagan will return to Paris-Nice this year and target Milan-San Remo before heading to Belgium for his first real taste of the cobbled classics. It is still unsure how well he can perform over the longer distances, but the Italian team is quietly confident he could be the surprise of the spring.

    "Now I've got more responsibility in the team, I'm expected to get more results, but I've also got more experience after a full season as a professional. Last year I didn't know what I could do. Now I know who I am, that I can win races," he told Cyclingnews at the team's training camp in Sardegna, seemingly unfazed by the pressure.

    This time last year, Sagan was a little-known neo-pro in Australia and about to ride the Tour Down Under. He had been a talented mountain biker, winning the 2008 junior World and European titles. But he also had huge road racing ability, taking second in the 2008 junior Paris-Roubaix after going on the attack 80km from the finish. He raced in Italy in 2009 with the Liquigas development team, but apparently didn't even know who Cadel Evans was. He never imagined he would go on to win five important races during the season and rack up another 15 top five placings.

    "Before the season I didn't even think I could even win a race," he admitted. "The Tour Down Under was a surprise even for me. I saw that I was up there in the finishes on two stages despite having stitches in me after a crash. That made me realise I could do something. Then I won the stage at Paris-Nice."

    Sagan says it as if winning a stage at Paris-Nice is nothing special. Yet how he won in Aurillac and then in Aix-en-Provence showed beyond doubt...

  • Roulston ready to show his half-black New Zealand champion jersey

    Hayden Roulston (HTC-Highroad) in his new 2011 New Zealand champion's jersey
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 10:25 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    HTC rider targets stage win at the Tour Down Under

    Hayden Roulston has probably never been as lean as he is as he prepares for his season debut at the Santos Tour Down Under. And he showed how it can be a vital factor when combined with great form last weekend, when he dominated the New Zealand national championship. He jump from group to group for 70km and then took an impressive solo win.

    Roulston only received his new jersey on Friday evening. The design impressed Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Highroad teammates who will have to get used to following a jersey that looks 'all black' from the front but is mostly white on the back.

    “The white part means it not too hot in the sun,”, Roulston said, proud of his national colours. “People might think that the New Zealand championship is a small race but the average speed was f…king high."

    Roulston admitted he's had a good winter and is more disciplined and focused than in the past. “I’m just doing things right now”, said Roulston who has been a professional since 2003, first with Cofidis and then with US Postal, Health Net and Cervelo. He joined HTC in 2010.

    He turned 30 this week and knows he is in the running to be part of Cavendish’s lead out train for the Tour de France. He’s hoping to have his own chances at the Santos Tour Down Under.

    “This is the first race I have really prepared for,” he admitted. “My form is bloody good. I’d like to get a stage win here. I won’t be riding much on the front for our sprinters. Danny Pate and Bert Grabsch are here for that.”

    The hilliest and second last stage to Willunga is at the back of Roulston's mind although HTC-Highroad is also likely to ride for Matt Goss, who is also on good form. Stage 3 to Stirling looks good for Roulston too but he reckons this one looks even better for Goss.

    “After the Tour Down Under, I’ll go back to New Zealand for three weeks”, he said....

  • Leopard Trek train in Mallorca

    The Leopards stock up on fuel for the four-hour training ride
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 10:27 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Schlecks, Cancellara and teammates hit the hills

    Leopard Trek is in Mallorca, Spain for the team's first training camp of 2011. It is the first time the rider's get to ride on their official team bikes and in the new kit that was first unveiled at the recent team presentation.

    The Luxembourg registered squad line-up includes Andy and Frank Schleck, Fabian Cancellara and Daniele Bennati. They will train on the Spanish island for the next week while seven of their riders, including Stuart O’Grady, compete in the Santos Tour Down Under.

    The Spanish camp is the third chance for the squad to bond before the start to the season. Team boss Brian Nygaard organised a mountain get together in Switzerland during the winter and the team gathered again for the team presentation in Luxembourg.

    The squad marks Nygaard’s first soiree into team management having previously worked as a press officer for Saxo Bank and briefly at Team Sky. Along with the Shlecks and Cancellara, he has hired some of the top professionals in the peloton in a quest that will see the team compete in both grand tours, week long races and one-day events.

    Nygaard departed for the Tour Down Under late on Friday evening, leaving Kim Andersen, his chief directeur sportif, in charge of organising the riders. On today’s menu was a brief photo shoot before a four-hour training ride through the Mallorca hills. The riders are set to stop at a certain point with some of them then switching over to the team’s time trial bikes.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews over the coming days for more in-depth coverage from the team camp.

  • Armstrong says comeback to cycling didn't go as expected

    Lance Armstrong signs autographs at the Twitter ride.
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 11:47 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Had hoped to win another Tour de France

    Heading into the final races of his career outside of the United States, Lance Armstrong admitted that his comeback to racing after a three-year retirement had not gone as planned. He had hoped to win yet an eighth Tour de France but accepted "that's what happens in sport.”

    Armstrong, 39, retired after the 2005 season and returned in 2009. He finished third in the Tour that year after a tense war or nerves with then Astana teammate Alberto Contador. Armstrong is in Australia with Team RadioShack to ride the Cancer Council Classic on Sunday, followed by the Tour Down Under.

    "I thought I'd win another Tour, I really did," Armstrong said at a press conference in Adelaide, according to the Associated Press news agency. "It was different than I expected — that's just the reality, I'm not going to make any excuses. I did everything I could. ... No regrets though, none at all."

    Armstrong has often been subject to allegations of doping and is currently linked to a US government investigation concerning cycling and doping after detailed accusation by former US Postal Service teammate Floyd Landis. Armstrong has never tested positive and has always denied the accusations.

    "I never lose sleep — ever," he said when asked about the investigation. "It has no effect on my life, zero. That's for other people to deal with."

    The constant talk about doping has been of the major downsides of his career. "That drags on you after a while and it gets old," he said, "but it's still a great sport, one that I'd like to see more unified and ultimately excel."

    "Our sport could be better organized, could be more unified and we probably need a deeper reservoir of stars, because when you only have a couple that really stand out then those — for better or worse — tend to get the bulk of the attention and the bulk of the criticism," Armstrong said, "and I suppose I've been in the cross hairs of that...

  • Cipollini predicts furious sprinting at the Tour Down Under

    Mario Cipollini studies the form of the Katusha riders before a training ride
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 12:24 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    SuperMario expects a close battle between Cavendish and Greipel

    Mario Cipollini has predicted that the sprints at the Tour Down Under will be fast and furious, with even a risk of a pile-up in Sunday's Cancer Council Classic criterium.

    Cipollini won 191 races during his 16-year career and is widely considered one of the best sprinters of all time. He is never afraid to speak his mind and predicts a tense battle between Andre Greipel and former teammate Mark Cavendish.

    "It's going to be a real fight between Greipel and Cavendish, and all the other sprinters will be looking to take advantage of them watching each other. I just hope they don't all go down in the last corner…" Cipollini told Cyclingnews.

    "They're going to have to be careful because it's quite a tight circuit and so someone could get hurt. Hopefully they'll be a little bit sensible because at the start of the season."

    "I've heard that Cav is a little bit fat"

    Cipollini has always been admired Mark Cavendish's ability to win so much and so well. The two have even trained together in Tuscany. However Cipollini knows that Greipel is hungry for revenge after leaving HTC for Omega Pharma-Lotto.

    "Cavendish is a huge talent and is the fastest sprinter in the world but Greipel always starts off the season well, while Cavendish usually needs a bit of time to get going," Cipo points out.

    "I haven't seen Mark for a few months but from what I've heard he's a little bit fat, so he might need some racing to be his very best. I think that tips things slightly more in Greipel's favour. But if things go Cav's way and he gets a good lead out from his team, there's no reason why things won’t go his way. It's going to be close and so fascinating to watch."

    Cipollini gave Cyclingnews his predictions for the first sprints of the season while at the Katusha training camp in Calpe, Spain.

    Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil has convinced him to work with the Russian...

  • Vaughters reacts to Meyer, Bodridge and White being linked with Bannan's new team

    Jonathan Vaughters
    Article published:
    January 15, 2011, 13:33 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Garmin-Cervelo manager considers legal action if riders approached early

    Jonathan Vaughters has reacted to speculation linking a number of his riders and staff with the new Australian team reportedly being created by Shane Bannan for 2012, saying he would consider taking legal action against Bannan if there were a premature move for his staff outside of cycling's transfer window.

    The new Australian team is reportedly set to be called GreenEdge Cycling and hopes to be the first Australian team to obtain ProTeam status and ride the Tour de France in 2012. The project is set to be presented on Monday at the Tour Down Under with reporting that Jayco owner Gerry Ryan is the team's key backer, with Bannan, who recently quit his position as Australia National Performance Director, charged with building the team.

    Garmin-Cervelo riders Cameron Meyer and Jack Bobridge and directeur sportif Matt White have all been linked the team with the trio’s contracts set to expire on December 31, 2011.

    Vaughters, who employed White in 2008 in his first role as a directeur sportif, and who gave Bobridge and Meyer their first professional contracts, told Cyclingnews that he would consider legal action if Bannan made a move for any of his riders before August 1 – a compulsory date that all teams are required to respect under UCI ProTeam rules.

    “While I understand that the strong national pride of Australians and understand the desire to have a team of their own, if any employment discussions of any sort occur with any of our riders outside of the mandated transfer time then we will pursue the appropriate legal action,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    Vaughters admits he understands that the prospect of riding for an Australian team, or in White’s case, managing one, could be too good an opportunity to miss.

    “Matt is quite the patriot and has a long standing relationship with Shayne Bannan, it would not surprise me if he wanted to be...