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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 22, 2011

Date published:
January 22, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Brailsford welcomes GreenEdge competition

    Sky manager David Brailsford
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 15:45 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Sky boss talks Cavendish and Blythe

    Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has welcomed the creation of the new Australian GreenEdge cycling team, pointing out the similarities to Team Sky.

    The British ProTeam manager’s comments come despite Shayne Bannan, head of the GreenEdge project, stating that he would “target the best Australians who are out of contract at the end of 2011.”

    The contracts of Simon Gerrans, Matt Hayman and Chris Sutton all end this year.

    “I think it’s a very similar project to ours in terms of national team and ProTeam being very closely aligned,” Brailsford told Cyclingnews.

    “It will help Australian cycling and young Australia cyclists and I think the thinking is very much the same as ours.”

    GreenEdge has already faced criticism for allegedly approaching riders still under contract with other teams, although Bannan has denied any wrong doing. Under UCI regulations, formal negotiations can only take place after August 1.

    However Brailsford has appeared to take a philosophical approach, despite having several possible targets for GreenEdge to sign. Garmin-Cervelo team manager Jonathan Vaughters has said he would consider taking legal action against Bannan if there were a premature move for his riders and staff.

    Sky caused controversy last year in the manner they approached both Bradley Wiggins and Ben Swift. Both were eventually signed from Garmin and Katusha after drawn out negotiations.

    “You can recognise how some of those guys are going to feel and when opportunities came up we were very happy to talk with some of our guys but the situation with Bradley and Swift, they were very motivated to come to a British team and some lads are going to feel the same way about riding for an Australian team and if they do feel like that then I would respect that and then it’s a case of having a grown up chat discussion about it and not get too emotional about...

  • 25 teams selected for Milano-Sanremo

    Oscar Freire now has two victories in Milan - San Remo, his first coming in 2004.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 16:44 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Organiser RCS Sport invites seven Pro Continental teams

    The organiser of Milano-Sanremo has announced the complete list of teams invited to the 102nd edition of the first major Classics of the season. RCS Sport has invited a total of 25 teams of eight riders (200 riders in total) to the 'Classicissima', which will be held on March 19.

    All 18 ProTeams have obtained automatic entry to the Italian Classic, and the organiser have decided to invite seven Professional Continental teams. The four Italian squads are Acqua & Sapone, Androni Giocattoli, Colnago-CSF Inox and Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, plus Cofidis and FDJ, and the Spanish registered Geox-TMC.

    The news will be a relief for Mauro Gianetti's Geox-TMC team, who was snubbed by race organisers for Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de France. Dutch team Skil-Shimano, which will also miss out on the Tour in July, will be disappointed to see they have also been snubbed for Milano-Sanremo.

    The full list of participating teams at the 2011 Milano-Sanremo:

    18 ProTeams:

    Team Garmin-Cervélo
    Team Katusha
    Omega Pharma-Lotto
    Team QuickStep
    Team Rabobank
    Saxo Bank-SunGard
    Team Sky Pro Cycling
    Team RadioShack
    Team BMC Racing
    Team Leopard Racing
    Team Movistar
    Team Astana

    7 Professional Continental teams:

    Acqua & Sapone
    Androni Giocattoli
    Colnago-CSF Inox
    Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli

  • Zwizanski delivers UnitedHealthcare's first 2011 podium appearance

    Scott Zwizanski (UnitedHealthcare) tuned his time trial bike in the wind tunnel before the race, and it paid off with a third place on the stage.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 18:39 GMT
    Peter Hymas

    Wind tunnel time pays off for Tour de San Luis time trial

    Eight days after his session in a North Carolina wind tunnel on a prototype Boardman time trial bike, Scott Zwizanski powered to a third place stage finish in the stage four time trial of the Tour de San Luis, the first podium appearance of the season for both Zwizanski and his new team, UnitedHealthcare.

    The 33-year-old Zwizanski started early in the day due to his general classification position of 116th and the time trial powerhouse blazed through the 19.5km out-and-back course in 23:38, passing six riders along the way and putting himself in the hot seat for what would be nearly the entire day.

    Only Xavier Tondo (Movistar), an experienced ProTeam rider who capped off his 2010 season with a 6th place overall at the Vuelta a Espana, and Jorge Giacinti (Argentina), the Tour de San Luis time trial stage winner in 2009 and overall winner in 2007, would eclipse Zwizanski's effort.

    "I was happy for this performance because it is January and I did the best I could for this time of year," Zwizanski said. "There was a lot of head wind on the way out and I think I was about two minutes faster on the way back because of that tail wind. It was a good course."

    The Pennsylvania native is now in his eighth year as a professional, and after spending the previous two seasons with Kelly Benefit Strategies he decided to move to UnitedHealthcare, making its Professional Continental debut in 2011. Zwizanski had spent his entire career thus far on Continental levels squads and relished the opportunity the newly upgraded Professional Continental squad would provide.

    "UnitedHealthcare pursued me and they were talking about moving up to Pro Continental level," Zwizanski told Cyclingnews. "It became an opportunity for me to do bigger races in Europe. Kelly Benefit Strategies was great, and they've raced in Europe too, but the Pro Continental status was...

  • Kazakhstan Federation considering legal action against Sanquer

    The Astana team was able to sit back and rest with Navarro up the road.
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 20:15 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Former Astana team manager criticised in a statement

    The Kazakhstan Cycling Federation has said it is considering legal action against former Astana team manager Yvon Sanquer after the Frenchman claimed he was wrongly dismissed from his position.

    Sanquer has been replaced by commercial director Aidar Makhmetov and Marco Pantani’s former directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli, who is responsible for sport related aspects of the Astana team.

    “Once the team was ‘saved’, I quickly had the private conviction that the Kazakh management had hired me above all to be their moral guarantee and shop window,” Sanquer said in his statement issued last Friday.

    In response the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation has suggested that Sanquer failed to properly carry his management role and failed to inform them when Alberto Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol while winning the Tour de France.

    “During the (2010) season, leaders of the Kazakh Federation have repeatedly noted management shortcomings of the General Manager,” the Kazakhstan Cycling Federation claimed in a press release.

    “The equipment and sporting stock bought by the general manager didn’t correspond to the level of the team. Among other things, Mr. Sanquer did not inform immediately Kazakhstan Cycling Federation regarding the negative result of the doping test of Alberto Contador once he found it out the Federation was expecting a detailed report in writing by the General Manager instead of learning the facts initially only from the media.

    “Conflicts between the General Manager on the one side and riders, team management and staff, on the other side, occurred throughout 2010 season. Consequently, the team sent a letter, stating the impossibility of further work with Mr. Sanquer to the Federation. It should be noted that Mr Sanquer actually failed to perform managing Astana immediately after the end of Tour de France 2010; meanwhile getting wages until the end of...

  • Roche ready for season despite new knee injury

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    January 21, 2011, 21:15 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Irish rider set to return to Tour de France, Vuelta a España in 2011

    Nicolas Roche (Ag2R-La Mondiale) doesn't expect a knee injury developed at his team's training camp this week to effect the start of his 2011 season, which is due to get underway at Étoile de Bessèges next week in France.

    The 26-year-old Irishman returned home from the team's final pre-season training camp in Aups, near Nice, on Thursday and told Cyclingnews that a planned MRI scan had been cancelled with the team confident the injury isn't serious. Roche had suffered knee problems mid-way through last season, but recovered strongly to produce the most successful season of his career.

    "It's a different pain than last year and it's a bit more protracted than tendonitis but it should only be two or three days," said Roche. "We had booked an MRI for Thursday, but I got back on the bike the day after we organised it and it felt more muscular so we decided to give it another couple of days and we'll give it another check."

    While the injury has restricted the intensity of his training, it hasn't seen Roche miss a day on his bike and he is ready to commence a race programme similar to last year, which culminated in his seventh place overall finish at the Vuelta a España. He expects to return to the Vuelta, with the Tour de France also on his schedule.

    "My first race will be Bessèges, then I'll go to Portugal for the Tour of Algarve and then GP Insubria, GP Lugano, Paris-Nice, the Tour of Catalunya, Paris-Camembert, Fleche and Liege, then Bayern-Rundfardt, the Tour de Suisse, [Irish] national championships, the Tour de France, San Sebastian and the Vuelta," he said.

    "It's pretty set, but it can always change. Like last week when we were told we're not riding California when it had been planned for me. I wanted to ride California, but I'll do a training camp and Bayern-Rundfardt instead. So there's bound to be little changes, but that will be the main line through the season."

  • Dekker says Vaughters gave him a wake-up call

    Article published:
    January 22, 2011, 10:42 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Too much success too soon made him feel invincible

    Thomas Dekker said that getting rejected by Jonathan Vaughters and Team Garmin in 2008 was the “wake-up call” he needed to turn his life around. He achieved fame, fortune and success too early, and needed to be brought down to earth again.

    Dekker, now 26, turned pro with Rabobank in 2005, after two highly successful years on their continental team. His successes continued in the ProTour, but publicly things started falling apart in the summer of 2008. Ultimately it was announced that a doping control he gave on Christmas Eve 2007 was positive for EPO, and he is currently serving a suspension through July 1 of this year.

    He does not deny using EPO, admitting that he made the mistake and no one else is to blame. In an interview with, the Dutchman said that he seemed to be living in a “bubble” at the time, with nothing able to affect him.

    Rumours of doping and conflicts with Rabobank became rampant in the summer of 2008, and he was not taken to the Tour de France. Almost immediately after the Tour, stories about problems with his blood values arose. But that did not concern Dekker at all, as he was secure in his “bubble”.

    “I didn't care at that time. I was believing my own story. I had forgotten about the mistake I made. I even got a letter from the UCI saying that there was no problem with my blood values. I was starting to believe I was invincible. That made me even stronger. But nobody is invincible...”

    Even the prospect of losing his contract with Rabobank didn't bother him. “While everybody was writing, speaking and worrying about my situation, I was close to signing a super contract. The day after the 2008 Tour de France I met with Jonathan Vaughters. That 'the clean team' was interested sounded logical to me. It gave me a way out of the other situation. I had decided I'd change as soon as I put my signature to paper. Like always I was in...

  • Gianetti denies bureaucratic error cost Geox-TMC ProTeam status

    The two Swiss riders of Footon-Servetto-Fuji, David Vitoria and Noé Gianetti (l-r), join Mauro Gianetti for a picture.
    Article published:
    January 22, 2011, 11:52 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Sastre's points made up 20.5 per cent of team total

    Geox-TMC manager Mauro Gianetti has denied rumours that an administrative error cost his squad a ProTeam licence for 2011. On Friday, it was revealed that Gianetti’s team did not receive a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France.

    A report in Spanish newspaper El Pais claimed that Carlos Sastre’s points had not been added to Geox-TMC’s tally when the UCI was forming its sporting evaluation of ProTeam applicants. However, Gianetti has moved swiftly to quash suggestions of a bureaucratic error, either on the part of Geox or the UCI.

    “Let there be no doubt,” Gianetti told “I assure you without fear of being contradicted that there was no bureaucratic error.

    “The International Cycling Union assigned 117 points to Carlos Sastre in the special rankings that were used to determine Pro Tour licences. His points made up 20.5% of the total number of points attributed to Team Geox-TMC. Full stop.”

    As well as missing out on participation in the Tour de France, Geox-TMC has failed to be invited to Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, although the team will be on the start line for Milan-San Remo.

    The wildcard invitations for the Giro d’Italia have yet to be announced, although it is understood that Androni Giocattoli and Farnese Vini-Neri are already assured of two of the berths.



  • Gilbert rues Qatar and Oman absence

    Philippe Gilbert
    Article published:
    January 22, 2011, 13:02 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian chooses Tirreno-Adriatico over Paris-Nice

    Philippe Gilbert has admitted that his Omega Pharma-Lotto team’s absence from the Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman could hinder his preparation for Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The Belgian began his season on the Arabian Peninsula in 2010 but his team failed to secure invitations to the races there this time around.

    “It’s annoying not to be going there,” Gilbert told “I was the combined fault of the team and the organisers. Those two races are good preparatory events. You work on your speed there, you ride in the wind and you also get back to riding as a team again.”

    Gilbert is currently training in Mallorca and will begin his season there at the Challenge Mallorca, before training in Monaco. While he believes that the riders coming from Oman will be to the fore come the end of February, Gilbert acknowledges that by the time April’s classics come around, he will be back up to speed.

    “During the opening weekend [of the Belgian season] at Het Nieuwblad, we’ll feel the difference in level between those who did Qatar and Oman and those who’ll have Mallora, Algarve or anything else in their legs. But in two months, this difference of five days less of racing won’t count anymore.”

    In March, Gilbert will ride Tirreno-Adriatico rather than Paris-Nice but he insists that he has not decided to ride the Italian race simply because it is a more successful springboard for Milan-San Remo glory.

    “It’s not because the winner of Milan-San Remo has come out of Tirreno-Adriatico since 1999 but because I needed to change,” Gilbert said. “I’ve done Paris-Nice seven times, which has become more of a race for the climbers and which is always run off in difficult and wearying weather conditions. I’ve never done anything much there, I’ve never even won a stage, and furthermore, I love the Italian...