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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 12, 2010

Date published:
June 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Brajkovic prepares to face Contador on L’Alpe d’Huez

    A happy Janez Brajkovic (Team RadioShack) after winning the Dauphiné's third stage.
    Article published:
    June 11, 2010, 18:58 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Slovenian enjoying his leadership role at the Dauphiné

    Janez Brajkovic faces the biggest test of his career on Saturday as he tries to defend the yellow jersey in the Critérium du Dauphiné on the Col du Glandon and the up to the stage finish at L’Alpe d’Huez. The Slovenian from RadioShack has a lead of 1:41 on Alberto Contador (Astana). The Tour de France winner insists he is not riding the Dauphiné to win it but Brajkovic expects to have to fight for victory.

    “Tomorrow is going to be a very hard stage”, Brajkovic predicted.

    “There will be a lot of attacks for sure. It’s gonna be hard to control. Yesterday the head wind made it pretty easy for me because Chris (Horner) took a lot of wind and protected me. Today was another story with a lot of attacks on the first climb (Col du Lautaret). We managed to control the race and most of the attacks weren’t dangerous. Sergio (Paulinho) did a great job setting the pace for all the climb (of the Chamrousse). It was a pretty easy for me but not for the team.”

    Brajkovic has never climbed the Glandon or L’Alpe d’Huez, the legendary climbs of the Tour de France where his boss Lance Armstrong dominated so often.

    “I only know that it’s long and hard”, the Slovenian rider told reporters when asked about L’Alpe d’Huez. “It will be harder than today but it will be the same for everybody.”

    Contador gave the green light to teammate and loyal domestique Daniel Navarro to attack on the climb to Chamrousse on Friday. The double Tour de France winner keeps saying that he’s riding the Critérium du Dauphiné as build-up for July. Brajkovic did not want to reveal what he talked to Contador about in front of the TV cameras during the stage to Grenoble but is convinced he will ride aggressively on Saturday.

    “Contador will attack for sure,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll manage...

  • Boonen, Chavanel return in Tour de Suisse

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2010, 20:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quick Step riders back from injury

    The Quick Step team's Sylvain Chavanel and Tom Boonen will return to competition on Saturday's first stage of the Tour de Suisse. 

    Chavanel has been out of competition since a heavy crash into a team car during the finale of Liège - Bastogne - Liège left him with a fractured skull. He estimated last month that he would be out for another six weeks, making this weekend's race two weeks ahead of schedule.

    Boonen has also been on the mend since his crash in the Tour of California. He did not suffer any broken bones, but dropped out of the race due to extensive road rash and back pain.

    Quick Step for Tour de Suisse: Tom Boonen, Carlos Barredo, Sylvain Chavanel, Dries Devenyns, Stijn Devolder, Kevin Hulsmans, Jurgen Van De Walle and Maarten Wynants. Directors: Verbrugghe and Davide Bramati.

  • Pinot: France's next big climber?

    - Thibault Pinot (Fra) Française Des Jeux and Eros Capecchi (Ita) Footon-Servetto chase the lone leader
    Article published:
    June 11, 2010, 21:42 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Française des Jeux neo-pro shows his abilities at the Dauphiné

    Thibaut Pinot finished third in the mountainous stage 5 of the Dauphiné after being the king of the mountains at the Tour de Romandie. Less than two weeks after turning 20, the Française des Jeux rider is being hailed as France's next climbing sensation.

    Pinot made the early breakaway that went on the col du Lautaret soon after the start in Serre-Chevalier. He was still bitter that he hadn't been able to follow his plan the day before as he had a flat tyre four kilometres prior to the bottom of ascent to Risoul, where he was hoping to display his climbing abilities.

    Together with Eros Capecchi, he limited the gap to Astana's Daniel Navarro who had overtaken them in the climb to Chamrousse. "To come back across to him, we would have needed five more kilometres but he deserves his win," Pinot said after losing the sprint for second to Capecchi. "This is my first podium in a pro race, I can't complain."

    His team manager Marc Madiot didn't complain either. "I've seen a young rider who pedals well and I hope he'll continue to improve," the boss of Française des Jeux told Cyclingnews. "He's a pure climber. He confirms what we knew of him from the junior categories." Pinot was guided by FDJ's assistant coach Jacques Decrion who is a former pro from the 80's. He last year won the Giro della Valle d'Aosta, a race in the Italian Alps that reveals climbers.

    "For now, Thibaut lacks strength on the flat," Madiot continued. Française des Jeux changed his program after his encouraging showing in Romandie. They sent him to the Dauphiné, which is another ProTour race with huge climbs, rather than the Tour of Luxemburg for which he was initially scheduled. "He was in a good period, so it was interesting to see what he'd do at this level of racing. It's a good start," Madiot concluded.

    For the two remaining mountainous stages of the Dauphiné, Française des Jeux will not ask Pinot for...

  • UCI suspends Vorarlberg-Corratec's licence

    Veteran rider Rene Haselbacher from Austria is Vorarlberg-Corratec's main man on the tour after spending seasons with Gerolsteiner and Astana.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2010, 11:34 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Austrian Professional Continental team struggling with financial problems

    The International Cycling Union has suspended Team Vorarlberg-Corratec for financial problems.

    UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani comfirmed to Cyclingnews on Saturday that the Austrian Professional Continental team had temporarily lost its licence and will not be able to compete in race under the financial problems are resolved.

    The team did not respond to Cyclingnews' request for a comment on the matter.

    Vorarlberg-Corratec had disappeared from the UCI's website listing of Professional Continental teams earlier this week, and the team did not appear at the start of the Delta Tour of Zeeland. It did start in the Oberösterreich Rundfahrt, riding as the Austrian national team.

    The small Austrian team has long struggled with its finances, especially after losing Volksbank as its sponsor two years ago.

    The team's best known rider is Rene Haselbacher. The 31-year-old Austrian, who now lives in South Africa. He rode for Team Gerolsteiner from 1998 to 2006, and Astana in 2007 and 2008, before joining Vorarlberg in 2009.

  • Speedy racing expected to take off at AirForce Cycling Classic

    Alejandro Borrajo (Team Jamis\Sutter Home) has a go at breaking things up.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2010, 12:31 BST
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Criteriums key to NRC outcome

    The United States of America domestic peloton is headed to the AirForce Cycling Classic for this weekend’s Clarendon Cup and Crystal City Classic, held in Arlington, Virginia. Clarendon Cup Defending Champions Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home) and Erica Allar (Vera Bradley Foundation) will return to the start line for two days of fast criterium racing.

    The Air Force Cycling Classic will provide two days of racing beginning with the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series Clarendon Cup criterium, formerly called the CSC Invitational. It is known as one of the fastest criteriums in the country, where the peloton is presented with a 100 lap race on a technical circuit.

    “It is an important race because it is one of the best crits in the country and we are close to the lead the NRC as a team, so if we can get as many points as possible in the next two weeks that is good,” said Borrajo. “I feel good so I’m going to win tomorrow. For me the longer the crit the better.”

    Fly V Australia currently leads the NRC series team competition and Borrajo’s teammate Luis Amaran tops the series’ individual ranking. On the women’s side Allar’s teammate Alison Powers leads the series and her team Vera Bradley Foundation sit as the best overall team.

    The weekend of racing will continue the following day with the Crystal City Cup. The AirForce Cycling Classic’s organiser elected to step down from International Cycling Union (UCI)-sanctioning to bring the event back to its roots as a high-speed criterium for both the men and the women. Last year Shawn Mine (Team Type 1) won the men’s circuit race.

    “The team wants to defend the AirForce Classic title and improve on our result in Clarendon Cup for the weekend,” said Team Type 1 rider Ken Hanson, who placed second at the Clarendon Cup to Borrajo last year. “We have a good team and we are going to fight to...

  • Italian judge opens investigation into motorised bikes

    The peloton of the U23 Paris-Roubaix race
    Article published:
    June 12, 2010, 13:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cassani confirms his accusations after criticism from McQuaid

    Italian judge Raffaele Guariniello has opened a formal investigation into the possibility of motorised bikes being used in professional races in Italy after an appeal by Amore e Vita team owner Ivano Fanini.

    According to reports in Italian media, Guariniello, who often investigates popular causes and supports class action legal battles, has formally opened a sporting fraud investigation. In the past Guariniello has investigated accusations of doping at the Juventus soccer club and concerning Marco Pantani.

    "We can't just ignore what Davide Cassani said on television during the Giro d'Italia", Fanini said in a statement after his call for an investigation moved Gauriniello to act.

    "When he was asked if a rider had used the bike, Cassani said: 'The person who gave it to us said yes.' Now the names have to come out. The trick could have been used at the Giro d'Italia because despite the assurances of the organisers, no targeted checks were done. There's a risk that the Tour de France starts with this cheating still being used."

    "It's fundamental that both the UCI and the police in Turin open an investigation so that we can see what comes out. I'd bet that if the motorised bikes are eliminated before the Tour de France, someone would suddenly seem out of form or could even decide not to ride."

    Cassani confirms his accusations

    Speaking to Cyclingnews, Davide Cassani said he would be happy to help any investigation just as he had helped the UCI. However he was angry that UCI President Pat McQuaid had dismissed his report where he showed how a motorized bike works.

    Reports of the possibility of motorised bikes being used in the peloton first emerged on May 18 in three Italian newspapers and then Cassani showed a bike on Italian television a few days later.

    He did not accuse any specific rider of using the battery-powered engine to boost their performance, but at the end of the...

  • Breschel confident for Tour de France debut

    Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) sitting on the front of the bunch.
    Article published:
    June 12, 2010, 13:10 BST
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Saxo Bank boss Riis says O'Grady still as a chance

    Matti Breschel finally looks like making his Tour de France debut with Team Saxo Bank this year, although Stuart O'Grady is facing a race against time to be fit for July and may not make the final cut for the team.

    Three riders are set for the team's Tour squad: Andy Schleck, second last year, Fränk Schleck, fifth last year, and World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara. The rest of the team has still to be announced.

    Breschel rode well in the Spring Classics season but then had to abandon Paris-Roubaix because of a knee problem and since then has only ridden the Tour of California. The 25-year-old is riding the Tour de Suisse, starting today, and is optimistic about his chances of securing a place for the Tour.

    “We have not yet been told how the team to the Tour will look, but all the reports I have received indicate then that I will be there when it starts July 3 in Rotterdam," Breschel told politiken.dk.

    "It was difficult to get through the long racing pause, because it was "significantly longer than I had anticipated. Because I had to keep myself calm, I put on weight and that meant that I also needed to diet. When I finally raced again at the Tour of California about a month ago, I could feel that I still had a way to go.”

    Now, thought, he feels is where he ought to be. Breschel was at training camps in the Pyrenees and Alps, riding the key Tour mountain stages.

    "We came directly to the Tour de Suisse from training in the Alps, and it went much better there than in the Pyrenees, where I was only coming back after injury break. Now I feel that I am close to my form from the spring.”

    O'Grady still has a chance

    Team owner Bjarne Riis told politiken.dk talked about Stuart O'Grady's chance of riding the Tour de France.

    "It's obvious that Stuart is the weakest in the team right now, because it is only a little over three weeks since he broke his...

  • Contador happy to add L’Alpe d’Huez to his palmares

    Alberto Contador (Astana)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2010, 22:03 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Spaniard praises Brajkovic as deserved Critérium du Dauphiné winner

    Alberto Contador added a stage victory at L’Alpe d’Huez to his long list of triumphs as he won the queen stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

    He was unable to take the overall race lead from a hugely impressive Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack), but it was the Spaniard's first appearance on the legendary climb in the French Alps and he was happy just to win the stage.

    "The history of this climb definitely motivated me to win today," Contador said in the post-race press conference.

    "My condition is far from excellent yet, but yesterday I watched videos on the internet of (Marco) Pantani, Lance (Armstrong) and others riding for the win up here; that’s why I wanted to win it as well. More than the win itself, I wanted it because it was L’Alpe d’Huez."

    "My team worked for that from the start," said Contador. "This was in important test as I work on the condition I want to have at the Tour de France. I’m not at my best yet but I’m very happy with the outcome of today’s stage."

    Contador attacked several times but never managed to drop Brajkovic. The wind and the braveness of the young Slovenian blunted Contador's attacks, and so he focused on winning the stage.

    Contador accepts defeat

    Contador indicated that he knows it will now be almost impossible for him to pull back the 1:41 deficit he has on Brajkovic in the race's general classification.

    "I raced for two years on the same team as Brajkovic, I know his qualities," he said. "He’s very professional as a rider and his current state of form is very impressive. I wasn’t surprised by his performance against the clock. I’m also not surprised by the way he defended his yellow jersey today. He’s a very deserved winner of the Dauphiné."

    There is one stage remaining at the Critérium du Dauphiné, with five ascents of the Côte de...