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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, May 29, 2010

Date published:
May 29, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Rumors of Cunego transfer already underway

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre - Farnese Vini) finished 14th on the Plan de Corones.
    Article published:
    May 28, 2010, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Cervelo, Garmin interested, but Geox may step up for Lampre

    The Tour de France traditionally marks the point of the cycling transfer season but the Giro d'Italia also sees transfer talks begin as teams begin to secure new sponsors and look for team leaders.

    On Thursday Liquigas confirmed that they will continue their sponsorship of the team for another two years and signed Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali until 2012.

    In recent weeks there has been speculation that Damiano Cunego may leave Lampre-Farnese Vini. Cyclingnews understands that the little Italian has been in contact with both the Garmin-Transitions and Cervelo TestTeams.

    Garmin-Transitions team manager Jonathan Vaughters denied that he has made Cunego an offer but said he has been in communication with the rider's agent.

    Cunego may seem a surprise objective for both Garmin-Transitions and Cervelo TestTeam. However, he recently took a strong stance against doping and so could suitable for both the teams.

    Cunego recently told Gazzetta dello Sport: "I've never been tempted. My family imprinting is too strong. I never got any pocket money as a boy. If I needed some money, I had to earn it. When you grow up like that, you don't think about getting a little extra help."

    "In the past it wound me up seeing riders who were not as good as me go twice as fast as me on the climbs. But I've stopped asking myself if someone is ok or not. You can't let it make you crazy. But in the last few days I've rediscovered that if I prepare a race as you have to, the other big names can't drop me."

    Cunego finished 17th on stage 19 to Aprica after being dropped on the Mortirolo. He is now 11th overall, at 15:23.

    According to a report in the Italian 'Il Giornale' newspaper, Cunego could opt to remain at Lampre because Italian shoe maker Geox is interested in increasing it's sponsorship on the team. The Geox name currently appears on the side of the Lampre jersey but 'il Giornale' suggested that the company...

  • Sinkewitz signs with ISD-Neri

    Patrik Sinkewitz has signed with the Professional Continental team ISD-Neri.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 7:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    German to start in Luxembourg

    Patrik Sinkewitz has found a team for the 2010 season. The German has signed a one-year contract with the Professional Continental team ISD-Neri. His first race will be the Tour of Luxembourg this coming week.

    Sinkewitz was fired by T-Mobile Team in 2007 after testing positive for testosterone. He received a one-year suspension after co-operating with authorities and giving detailed confessions. Sinkewitz, 29, rode for PSK Whirlpool-Author in 2009.

    “It is incredibly good to wake up and know why you are training,” he told the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

    In his confession, Sinkewitz named teammates, doctors and other team personnel whom he said were also involved in doping. His return to racing was not always well-greeted by the peloton, but Sinkewitz said he can live with that. “I'm not afraid of anybody. I know what I have done, but I can look at myself in the mirror.”

  • WADA hails De Bonis suspension

    Diquigiovanni's Francesco de Bonis hung on tenaciously, but could not stay with Voigt and Bellotti on the steep parts.
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 8:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Calls for other sports to use biological passport programme

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has welcomed the two-year suspension of Francesco De Bonis under the biological passport programme. The International Cycling Union announced the suspension, the first of its kind, on May 27.

    “The Athlete Biological Passport adds a powerful tool to support the fight against doping in sport,” said WADA’s Director General David Howman on the agency's website. “Coupled with other strategies, it makes prohibited preparations harder to implement by those athletes who may take the risk to cheat."

    “We know that the effects of some substances remain detectable in the body longer than the substances themselves. The Athlete Biological Passport Model allows the anti-doping community to exploit this reality through a similar approach to that used in forensic science."

    Howman called for other sport federations to adopt the UCI's approach. “We look forward to seeing more anti-doping organisations follow in the UCI’s footsteps and implement such longitudinal follow-up programs in the comings months and years.”

  • Lefevere dreams of Quick Step/Omega Pharma-Lotto merger to save Belgian cycling

    Patrick Lefevere is confident about his team
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 8:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Super team would feature all top Belgian riders

    The future of Belgian cycling lies in establishing one team with the top national cyclists, says Quick Step general manager Patrick Lefevere. According to Lefevere the way to do that would be to merge the two Belgian ProTour teams, Quick Step and Omega Pharma-Lotto.

    "Imagine: Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert in one team. I dream of that now. These two could win all the spring classics," Lefevere said.

    According to the Belgian newspaper Le Soir, “A great merger, I think that is the only option to keep Belgian cycling at the top in the future,” Lefevere said. “All the great players together: Lotto, Quick Step and Omega Pharma.”

    And the missing ingredient, Lefevere said, is Eddy Merckx. “It can't happen without him, I think. He is the key to our sport. That way we can build a team of 15 million euros. That way we can compete.”

    "The best Belgian riders in one team, that has long been a dream of mine,” he added. There would also be several smaller teams for the young riders. “I want to provide clear guidance for young Belgian riders.”


     

  • Nibali might skip Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) leads on monte Grappa
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 9:21 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet

    Liquigas hopes for Pellizotti to ride

    Vincenzo Nibali is considering skipping the Tour de France this year, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “It was in my program but the Giro wasn’t”, said Nibali, who was a late replacement for Franco Pellizotti, who was prevented from racing by the UCI in relation to abnormal values in his biological passport.

    “The shark” wore the pink jersey for three days after the team time trial on stage 4 but lost it to Alexandre Vinokourov after stage 7 to Montalcino.

    Nibali is now third in the general classification in the Giro d’Italia, with a more than realistic shot of finishing on the podium of a Grand Tour for the first time.

    “I’ve been asked by my team to join the training camp in San Pellegrino that begins right after the Giro”, he said. “It’s also in the plan to reconnoitre some stages of the Tour de France, but we’ll see, I’ve got doubts.”

    Nibali will be hoping to rest rather than keep training for the Tour de France. He came 7th in the Grande Boucle last year.
    Giro d’Italia leader Basso is also scheduled for the Tour de France but he hasn’t raced as much as Nibali in the early part of the season. The Sicilian won the Tour of San Luis in Argentina in January.

    Both Italian stars have extended their contract with Liquigas-Doimo this week, therefore a participation to the Tour de France wouldn’t change Nibali’s market value.

    Liquigas support Pellizotti

    In a press conference, Liquigas-Doimo’s team manager Roberto Amadio confirmed the team’s support to Pellizotti in his attempt to prove his innocence. He announced that the king of the mountains of last year’s Tour de France will take part in the training camp next week and will be lined up at the Italian championship and the Tour de France, should he be cleared in June of doping accusations by the...

  • Many injuries in Tour of Belgium crash

    Gerben Löwik (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 14:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gilbert blames young rider on small teams

    A mass crash three kilometres before the finish of the third stage of the Tour de Belgium took down over half of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team of race leader Philippe Gilbert. Two of its riders and at least one other did not start of Saturday' stage four.

    Omega Pharma-Lotto and Gilbert had to do without Gerben Löwik and Wilfried Cretskens. Löwik suffered severe bruising to the groin area, and Cretskens a broken collarbone.

    Gilbert noted that his chances of the overall victory were reduced as a result of the crash. "If I do well in the individual time trial, then I will certainly miss the support of those two on the final day," he told the Belgian news agency Belga.

    He blamed the smaller teams for the mishap. "It is a recurring problem in such races. The little teams with young riders sprint for the 18th place. Then we have all the unnecessary jostling and shoving, with all the consequences. We now have half the team in the waste basket."

    Landbouwkrediet was affected as well, as captain Bert De Waele suffered a fracture in his knee in the crash, and is expected to out a minimum of five weeks. His left leg was put in plaster cast and will be examined again next Friday.

    "He can now give up his dream of becoming Belgian champion," team spokesman Ivan Elegeert told Belga.

    De Waele also suffered a sprained ankle and deep cut on his right knee, which had to be stitched.

    His teammates David Boucher and Geert Verheyen were others involved in the crash. Boucher got a pedal in the ribs and Verheyen had scrape wounds on his thigh and back, but both will start again today.

  • Giro d'Italia Gallery: At the start in Bormio and on the Gavia

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) in pink
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 14:48 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Images of the snow at the summit of the Gavia

    Images from the start of stage 20 in Bormio and from the summit of the Passo Gavia.

    Snow ploughs have cut a path through the snow but the road is clear. However it could be the very technical descent, rather than the climb, that could shape the race and decide if Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Doimo) goes on to win the Giro in Verona on Sunday.

     

  • Sassi convinced Basso is racing clean

    Ivan Basso with his coach Aldo Sassi
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 18:01 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian coach visits Basso and Evans at the Giro

    Ivan Basso's coach, Professor Aldo Sassi, is convinced that the Giro d'Italia race leader is racing clean and claims physiological calculations prove it.

    Sassi manages the Mapei Sports Service centre near Milan and coaches Basso, Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Charly Wegelius and several other riders.

    He is under treatment for a brain tumor but has fought the nausea of his chemotherapy to visit the Giro d'Italia and see the final mountain
    stage.

    "My dream was to have two riders on the podium, with one of them on the top step in the pink jersey. It hasn't worked but that means we'll do everything we can to make my dream come true in Paris after the Tour de France. In my situation, I've learned to always look to the future. That true in both cycling and life,' Sassi told Cyclingnews.

    Believable numbers

    Despite Basso climbing the Passo del Mortirolo eight seconds faster than he did in 2006, before he was implicated in Operacion Puerto, Sassi insists that his performance was believable.

    "I don’t think people should doubt Ivan's performance. He's changed a lot. I totally trust him, like I totally trust Cadel," Sassi told Cyclingnews.

    "The power the lead riders put out on the Mortirolo yesterday was about 420 watts. That's about six watt/kg, at the limit of natural physical possibilities."

    "The data people should reflect on were the times the riders set during the Plan de Corones time trial. The data showed that the strength to weight ratio of the best riders was somewhere between 5.1w/kg and 5.3w/kg. That's low. It's as if they all rode the 100 metre final in the Olympics in 13 seconds. I think that is enough to confirm that cycling has changed."

    Ivan and Cadel

    Sassi has been working with Basso since he made his come back from his two-year doping ban in 2007. He has worked...