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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, June 25, 2011

Date published:
June 25, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Europcar confirm Hushovd interest

    World champion Thor Hushovd will be targeting a stage win at the Tour.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 11:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Bernaudeau hoping to attract world champion for 2012

    Jean-René Bernaudeau has confirmed Europcar’s interest in signing Thor Hushovd for 2012. The world champion is set to be one of the most highly-sought riders on the transfer market this summer, as his contact with Garmin-Cervélo expires at the end of the season.

    “We have approached him and negotiations have been engaged,” Bernaudeau told “He’s a rider who wholly corresponds to our spirit and the ideas that we have about this sport.”

    Hushovd turned professional with Credit Agricole in 2000, and he remained with Roger Legeay’s team until it folded in 2008. Bernaudeau believes that Hushovd would be well-suited to a return to French cycling.

    “Thor knows our way of operating and our values,” Bernaudeau explained. “He still has excellent memories of France and his time at Credit Agricole.”

    While Bernaudeau salvaged his squad’s existence at the eleventh hour last autumn by attracting Europcar to replace Bouygues Telecom as title sponsor, the team missed out on a place in the WorldTour.

    Thomas Voeckler’s efforts so far this season will have strengthened the team’s application to be at cycling’s top table in 2012, but the signing of an international name such as Hushovd would bolster their case still further.

    Nonetheless, Bernaudeau acknowledged that Europcar would face stiff competition to complete a deal with Hushovd.

    “A lot of teams are lining up for him,” Bernaudeau said. “In any case, nothing will be signed before the end of the...

  • Kreuziger included in Astana Tour de France team

    Roman Kreuziger (Astana) is looking to shine at this year's Giro.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 12:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Vinokourov faces into final Tour

    Astana have named Roman Kreuziger in a strong line-up for the Tour de France, which will be led by Alexandre Vinokourov.

    Kreuziger finished 6th overall at the Giro d’Italia and carried the white jersey of best young rider to Milan. The Czech was initially scheduled to forgo the Tour in what is his first season with Astana, but after recovering well from his exertions in Italy, he has opted to compete in France. He has finished in 9th place in each of the past two Tours.

    Giro d’Italia stage winner Paolo Tiralongo is the only other rider from Astana team in Italy to double up at the Tour. The Sicilian was among Alberto Contador’s most trusted lieutenants at last year’s race, and he will offer valuable support to Vinokourov in the mountains.

    Paris-Nice stage winner Rémy Di Gregorio will also be aiming to shine on home roads, and the Frenchman has enjoyed a rich spell of form since swapping FDJ for Astana during the off-season. Tomas Vaitkus offers the team an outlet in the sprints, while there is also room for Kazakh pair Maxim Ignlinsky and Dimitri Fofonov.

    The leader will of course be Alexandre Vinokourov, and the veteran has stated that his aim is to wear the yellow jersey for the first time in his career in what is set to be the final instalment of his controversial relationship with the Tour de France.

    Astana team for the Tour de France:

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra), Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz), Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) and Andrey Zeits...

  • Spanish court overturns Heras' suspension

    Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) with his Vuelta mantlepiece feature #4
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 12:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard can reclaim 2005 Vuelta a Espana victory, says court

    Roberto Heras can reclaim his 2005 Vuelta a Espana title. A court in Spain has overturned his two-year doping ban and returns to him the results that had been cancelled.

    The Spaniard, riding for Liberty Seguros, tested positive for EPO on the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta. He won the race ahead of Denis Menchov.

    In February 2006, the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) suspended him for two years and stripped him of his Giro title. Heras continued to protest his innocence and appealed the decision in court.

    The Administrative Division of the Superior Court of Justice of Castilla y Leon, in Valladolid, has now overturned the suspension, according to the Europa Press news agency. Part of Heras' appeal was based on the contention that his samples had been incorrectly stored and that the samples had not been analysed anonymously.

  • Belgian Federation calls for continued use of race number 108

    Wouter Weylandt was remembered with a Belgian flag
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 14:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Criticizes attempt to honour Weylandt through non-use of number

    The Belgian cycling federation has spoken out against the retirement of race number 108, saying it won't bring back Wouter Weylandt. The KBWB said that the number would be assigned in the national road race on Sunday and called on other races to follow suit.

    Weylandt was wearing 108 when he died as the result of a crash in the third stage of this year's Giro d'Italia. That race has permanently retired the number.

    The race number 108 was not assigned at Wednesday's Halle-Ingooigem race, “as a token of homage” to Weylandt, the race organiser said.

    "It has to stop,” Freddy Van Steen of the KBWB said, according to sporza. “In this way Weylandt's death is always brought up again. That is why the federation will not do it.”

    Only the kermis races in East Flanders will run without the number this number for the rest of the year, he said.

    Ironically, the number will not be worn in Sunday's race. It was assigned to Sep Vanmarcke of Garmin-Cervelo, who will not be riding due to injuries.

  • No surprises in Liquigas-Cannondale Tour de France roster

    Ivan Basso and Sylwester Szmyd lead proceedings on a ride.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 17:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Szmyd to support Basso in the mountains

    There were no surprises in the Liquigas-Cannondale selection for the Tour de France as a team devoted entirely to Ivan Basso will line up in the Vendée on July 2.

    Basso has built his season around the Tour, forgoing a defence of his Giro d’Italia crown in order to focus fully on a tilt at the podium. After struggling at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Italian has recently been on a training camp at the Passo San Pellegrino in the Dolomites and team manager Roberto Amadio is convinced that his charge has sufficient mettle to make an impact at the Tour.

    “Everybody knows our goals: to honour the race day after day and aim for the best possible result in the general classification,” Amadio said. “A captain like Ivan Basso allows us to look towards the podium and the yellow jersey with great ambition.

    “Contador and Andy Schleck have shown themselves to be the strongest, but Ivan has just as much experience and class. He hasn’t been able to perform to his full potential until now though due to physical problems and Injuries, but I’m convinced Ivan, and his teammates, will treat us to a world-class performance during the Tour.”

    As expected, the riders who accompanied Basso on that recent training camp at the will flank him at the Tour. Chief among them is domestique deluxe Sylvester Szmyd, who will offer Basso valuable help in the highest mountains.

    “When we’re tackling the decisive stages and the group splits up, his help will be crucial for Ivan,” directeur sportif Andrea Zanatta explained.

    Indeed, there is a...

  • Boasson Hagen out of Norwegian road championships, Tour de France perhaps endangered

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 17:18 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Sky rider diagnosed with shingles

    Edvald Boasson Hagen will not ride the Norwegian road championships this Sunday, and his participation in the Tour de France may be endangered.   The Team Sky rider has been diagnosed with shingles (herpes zoster).

    “As a precautionary measure, he has withdrawn from the road championships this weekend,” team spokesman Kris Dent told Cyclingnews Friday evening.  “We are monitoring the situation and at this point there is no change in his Tour status.

    On Thursday, Boasson Hagen rode to his fifth consecutive national time trial title.  Earlier that day he had noticed a rash on his body, but did not have any discomfort, reported.

    His condition worsened on Friday and the shingles were diagnosed by a physician.

    Shingles is a painful, contagious rash which is caused by the chicken pox virus.

  • In-form Martin left out of Garmin-Cervelo Tour de France team

    2011 Giro della Toscana champion Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) on the podium.
    Article published:
    June 24, 2011, 21:16 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Irishman set to ride Vuelta a Espana

    In spite of the fine recent form that yielded a stylish victory at the Giro della Toscana last weekend, Dan Martin has been left out of the Garmin-Cervélo team for the Tour de France.

    Speaking from Girona on Friday evening, Martin told Cyclingnews that although he was disappointed, he could understand the thinking behind his omission from the squad. Christian Vande Velde and Ryder Hesjedal will lead the team’s tilt at the overall standings, while Tom Danielson got the nod to offer them support in the mountains.

    Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar will offer the team an outlet in the sprints, while a quota of rouleurs, including David Millar and David Zabriskie, should round out the line-up.

    “Every rider that’s going to the Tour de France is going for a reason,” Martin said. “I’d have been going to try and support the guys in the mountains but it’s the third week that’s the important one, and they needed to have confidence that I was going to be there. Having no experience of the Tour and with guys who are going there to get near the podium this year, they needed to be sure that I could be up there, but that didn’t fit this year.”

    After missing out at the last minute due to a knee injury in 2009, Martin admitted that it was difficult to be told that he would have to wait another season before making his Tour debut, especially given that he has reached late June very much on song.

    “Of course I’m disappointed, because I’m just coming into my top form,” Martin said. “But I’m still young. Maybe not so much in age as in maturity. I feel like I’ve a lot...

  • Contador: I’m happy, but lacking rhythm

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2011, 9:51 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Spaniard describes third place in TT champs as “a very positive test”

    Despite failing to live up to his status as favourite to win the Spanish time trial championship, Alberto Contador played down the fact that he only finished third, describing the race as “very positive” as he looked ahead to next week’s Tour de France.

    Contador finished a substantial 1:12 down on defending champion Luis León Sánchez over the 44.5km course, and was also beaten by Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who came in 11 seconds quicker than the recent Giro d’Italia winner.

    “It was a very hard time trial,” Contador told Europa Press. “The first part was very demanding and on the second half I struggled to get my breath. But I’m happy because I managed to get my pulse rate up quickly and that shows that these last few days of rest have helped me.”

    Contador insisted that few conclusions could be drawn from the time trial result because it was his first race since he claimed the Giro title at the end of May.

    “I’m happy because I’ve got an hour of time trial effort under my belt and because, in spite of how much how much I suffered after the first hill, I recovered and started to feel increasingly more comfortable. Now I will ride a bit on Sunday [in the road race championship] and then pack my bags for the Tour,” he said.

    Contador added that he felt that he “lacked a bit of rhythm” compared to riders who have just come out of the Dauphiné or Tour of Switzerland. “But I think the test is very positive because in addition it was quite similar to the final time trial in the Tour de France.”