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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, January 7, 2012

Date published:
January 07, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Dekker to open 2012 season at Tour of Qatar

    Thomas Dekker in action.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 12:41 GMT
    Cycling News

    Garmin-Cervelo rider returns to top tier of racing after doping ban

    Thomas Dekker will return to WorldTour racing at the Tour of Qatar. The Dutch rider is returning to the top ranks with Team Garmin-Cervelo after riding for the Chipotle Development Team at the end of last season, following the completion of his doping suspension.

    “Had good training day .. My first competition is February 5 Tour of Qatar,” he tweeted.  “Another month of training .. And the BAM ..”

    Dekker was suspended for two years, from 2009 to 2011. He tested positive for EPO in the retroactive testing of a doping control from December 2007.

  • Gilbert has the confidence and condition he needs for successful 2012

    Belgian Champion Philippe Gilbert waves to fans
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 14:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    BMC rider looking forward to Tour de France with “relaxed” Evans

    Philippe Gilbert is going into the 2012 season knowing “that I will have the support and condition it takes to do a good performance.” The Belgian said he won't worry about winning any particular races, and is looking forward to riding the Tour de France with defending champion and BMC Racing teammate Cadel Evans.

    At the top of his wish list for this season is not the victory in any particular race, but “to not have any bad crashes or to get sick. If I can avoid those things, I will be on my way to good results,” he said on the BMC website.

    He won't put pressure on himself in terms of choosing which races he wants to win. “It's difficult to hope to win this race or that race. I don't need the extra pressure because I will start most of the Classics as one of the favourites. Instead, I will just hope to do my best and be as prepared as possible."

    Gilbert, who finished the 2011 season as the top ranked rider, will hook up again with Evans, with whom he rode for Silence-Lotto in 2009.  "Already I knew Cadel Evans from being teammates with him before.” he said. “But I can feel he is different now. He's more relaxed. He's won the Tour already and it's not the same Cadel as I knew from 2009.

    “But he's still very professional and very focused, and being next to him at the start of the Tour de France will be something very special."

    The 29-year-old is going into 2012 just wanting “to do my best. I don't think about winning. I always have the same motivation and goals whether I have won a race or not. I will start every race like I have never won it, whether I have won it before or not."

  • Offredo informed of missed doping controls

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 16:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    FDJ rider risks suspension by UCI

    Yoann Offredo (FDJ-BigMat) confirmed today that he has been informed by the UCI of three missed doping controls in 2011, violations which could earn him a suspension of up to two years.

    Offredo is the second Frenchman to run afoul of the anti-doping regulations. The UCI today announced that two world titles won by track sprinter Grégory Baugé have been annulled due to two whereabouts violations and a missed doping control.

    "I did not receive a notification from the French federation's disciplinary committee so I'm surprised that the UCI unveiled this case," Offredo said to Reuters.

    "On two occasions, I sent my whereabouts a few hours late. On the third occasion, I was at a race added to my schedule at the last minute and I had said I was at home."

    He added later via Twitter, "I am an enthusiastic defender of the anti-doping fight. I wonder, is cycling?"


  • Cavendish admits to missed drug test in 2011

    In most people's eyes, Mark Cavendish is the current number one sprinter
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 17:00 GMT
    Mark Robinson

    British sprinter will face no action for first offence

    Mark Cavendish has moved quickly to diffuse any suspicion around him, after Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport published an article in its print edition this morning claiming that he had missed at least one out of competition drug test during the 2011 season.

    As reported by Cyclingnews this morning, the paper claimed that several sources were privy to this information, despite UCI President Pat McQuaid stating that he knew nothing about it.

    Cavendish, who won the Road World Championships and the Tour De France green jersey in 2011, released a statement admitting that he was indeed at fault and spoke of his regret at missing the test last spring. He has the full support of Team GB and Team Sky supremo David Brailsford, who said that Cavendish's integrity wasn't in doubt.

    "I missed an out of competition test last April," Cavendish, who was awarded the 2011 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award last month, said. "It was my mistake. I was with a film crew for the BBC and Giro d'Italia on Mount Etna. It was a simple, genuine administrative error. Of course I totally understand the importance of testing in sport. I was tested by the UCI a couple of weeks before that and twice in the fortnight after, and had around 60 tests in all last year. It's part of the job and it's my job to make sure I don't miss another."

    "There is absolutely no doubt about Mark's integrity," Brailsford said. "I am totally satisfied that he made a genuine mistake. He is tested regularly and is a powerful advocate for testing and ensuring that sport is clean."

    Cavendish, who has voiced strong anti-doping opinions in the past, will face no action over the...

  • RadioShack-Nissan ready to rock 'n roll

    The RadioShack-Nissan team leaders flank Bruyneel
    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 17:20 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Photo gallery with team leaders and Bruyneel

    On the improbably named Boulevard du Rock 'n Roll, Johan Bruyneel introduced his own fab five on Friday afternoon, as the leaders of the new RadioShack-Nissan squad met the press ahead of the team's official launch in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.

    The merger of the Leopard Trek and RadioShack squads has led to the formation of a super group of sorts, and the main players from each side – Andy and Fränk Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Andreas Klöden and Chris Horner – sang from the same song sheet under the watchful gaze of the svengali Bruyneel.

    After experiencing first hand the creative differences of Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour de France, Bruyneel is aware of the need for harmony in a team filled with potential front men.

    "It's always a challenge," he said. "Sometimes managing egos can be difficult but at the end of the day the team's goal is the most important. So when you have two riders who are contenders, one will know if the other is better, and I also have the experience to recognise that."

    All going to plan, the team leader at the Tour de France will be Andy Schleck, and he is looking forward to having his challenge buttressed by the support of the veterans Klöden and Horner.

    "I consider myself still as a young rider and having guys with a lot of experience like Chris and Andreas [on the team] is a great honour for me," said Schleck. "And it can go both ways – some races I will work for them and some races they will work for me. I feel really confident going into the season to ride with these guys."

    With a surfeit of time trialling miles in the 2012 Tour route, there had been some speculation that Schleck might be tempted to try his luck...

  • Gallery: RadioShack-Nissan jersey revealed

    Article published:
    January 06, 2012, 19:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cancellara and Schlecks show off 2012 team kit

    The RadioShack-Nissan jersey was unveiled at the team’s presentation in Luxembourg on Friday evening.

    The kit, which is similar to the Leopard-Trek outfit from 2011, is designed by Craft. The main difference from the 2011 kit being a thin red line across the chest, along with title sponsor RadioShack.

    The team were presented live on Luxembourg television with Andy and Frank Schleck taking centre stage in their home nation.

    The team had early outlined their main aims for the season, which included the three grand tours, Worlds, and Classics.

  • Lampre oldest team in WorldTour, Liquigas the youngest

    The team from Lampre-ISD is presented to the crowd
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 9:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    RadioShack has two of the oldest riders

    Lampre-ISD is the oldest WorldTour team in the peloton, and Liquigas-Cannondale the youngest – with not quite three years separating the average age of riders on the two Italian teams. Three teams came in with an average age of more than 29 years:  Lampre, RadioShack-Nissan and Saxo Bank. Liquigas was the only one under 27 years.

    Sprinters Alessandro Petacchi and Danilo Hondo are both 38 years old, and their ages put Lampre on top of the list. RadioShack has two of the oldest riders, Jens Voigt and Christopher Horner, both 40. Saxo Bank is not represented on the list of ten oldest riders, with their oldest being Matteo Tossato (37) and Nicki Sorensen (36).

    From Inner Ring, the teams' average ages:

    Lampre-ISD 29.4
    RadioShack-Nissan 29.3
    Team Saxo Bank 29.1
    Astana 28.8
    Katusha 28.8
    Garmin Cervélo 28.6
    AG2R-La Mondiale 28.6
    GreenEdge Cycling 28.4
    BMC Racing Team 28.2
    Sky Procycling 28.2
    Movistar Team 27.9
    Euskaltel-Euskadi 27.9
    Rabobank Cycling Team 27.8
    Omega Pharma-Quick Step 27.8
    Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 27.6
    Lotto Belisol Team 27.6
    FDJ-Big Mat 27.4
    Liquigas-Cannondale 26.5

    The ten oldest WorldTour riders:

    Jens Voigt, RadioShack-Nissan 40
    Frédéric Guesdon, FDJ-Bigmat 40
    Christopher Horner, RadioShack-Nissan 40
    Robbie McEwen, Green Edge 39
    George Hincapie, BMC 38
    Stuart O'Grady, Green Edge 38
    Alexandr Vinokourov, Astana 38
    Levi Leipheimer, Omega Pharma-Quick Step 38
    Alessandro Petacchi, Lampre-ISD 38
    Danilo Hondo, Lampre-ISD 38



  • König ready to tackle a grand tour

    Leo König of Team NetApp
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 10:27 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    NetApp climber says riding the Giro d'Italia would be a dream come true

    It is time for Leo König to ride a grand tour. The Team Netapp rider said that after this breakthrough year of 2011, he is now prepared to take on one of the three week races.

    The German Professional Continental team has made the short list for a Giro d'Italia wildcard, and the Czech rider told Cyclingnews that riding that race "would be a dream come true.“

    "I think now is the best time for me to ride a grand tour race. I am prepared physically and mentally,“ he said. "For sure it would be a dream come true because I remember visiting the Giro in 2001 when I was a 13-year-old boy and back then I wished to be there one day.“

    In his first year with NetApp last season, the young climber and time triallist first showed his potential by finishing second in the Czech national road race. He blossomed at the Tour of Austria, finishing third on the difficult Kitzbüheler Horn stage and moving himself into third overall on that second stage. A strong time trial on the penultimate stage moved him to second place, where he eventually finished. König also won the best young rider award.

    That race was his biggest result ever, and "for me it was kind of  a breakthrough for my confidence and regarding my style of racing,“ he said.

    That wasn't all for him, though. He went on to claim third overall at the Tour de l'Ain and fifth at the Tour of Britain, which "confirmed that I am a tour rider who likes good climbs.“

    The development was, for him, simply another step in the right direction. "For me the season was better than expected but I knew my...