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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, November 28, 2009

Date published:
November 28, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Belgian registration for An Post Sean Kelly Team

    U-23 Irish National Road Race Champion Mark Cassidy and Sean Kelly with representatives from two of the team's main sponsors, Grant Thornton and Martin Donnelly.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2009, 21:51 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Six Irish riders maintain connection with origin country

    Seeking entry to races such as the Tour of Belgium and HC-ranked races in that country, the An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team has explained the reasons for its decision to register there for the 2010 season.

    The team was founded four years ago as the first Irish continental squad and remained so since then, although its base has been in the town of Merchtem in Belgium. While a strong Irish presence plus the ongoing input of Sean Kelly will maintain the connection with Ireland, there will be a change next year.

    General manager Kurt Bogaerts confirmed yesterday that the team has decided to register as a Belgian squad in 2010. "We are very much still Irish," he said, "but registering there will open a lot of doors for us. I've spoken with our main backers in An Post and Grant Thornton [both Irish companies] and they understand the reasons."

    Bogaerts explained the benefits. He said that as an Irish squad based in Belgium, UCI rules mean that the team was unable to take part in 2.HC and 1.HC-ranked events there. That meant it missed out on key events such as the Tour of Belgium.

    Similarly, it was unable to ride national events, meaning that races at the high and low end of the scale were off limits.

    "There were two ways to go about getting into these races," he explained. "The first would be to step up to being a Professional Continental team. However that would require a considerable increase in budget. The second, and easier way, is to change where we register the team.

    "I estimate that we will be able to ride 10 to 20 more races as a result, and this in turn should help chase more sponsorship." Other team sources have indicated that starts in the Tour of Belgium and the G.P. E3 Harelbeke are already highly likely.

    Longer term, Bogaerts hopes to step up to Pro Continental level next season, providing the budget is there.

    The team announced on Friday that it will feature five Irish riders in 2010....

  • Ziliute retirement not decided

    Diana Ziliute (Safi) takes a corner as the bunch chases the American escapee, Alison Starnes.
    Article published:
    November 27, 2009, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Lithuanian may continue racing in 2010

    Despite reports to the contrary on Wednesday, Lithuanian Diana Ziliute had not yet made a decision on when she will terminate her professional racing career, and she appears ready to race again next season.

    "Contrary to what has been written, Diana Ziliute, has not yet decided when she will withdraw from racing. In fact, she has applied for membership to the Lithuanian Cycling Federation for the 2010 season," read a statement from the Safi-Pasta Zara women's cycling team.

    The 33-year-old had been reported to be switching from the role of racer to director sportif within the ranks of Safi-Pasta Zara, a team with which she has spent her entire career.

    A prolific sprinter, Ziliute's palmares include stage victories at the Tour of the Ardeche, Giro della Toscana and La Route de France, as well as the Lithuanian road and individual time trial titles. She has also claimed multiple stage wins at the women's Tours of France and Italy, the Grande Boucle Féminine and Giro d'Italia Femminile.

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  • Contentpolis hopes to get licence as Murcia-AMPO for 2010

    Team Contentpolis.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2009, 9:41 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Chance of signing Rasmussen for the coming year

    The former Contentpolis-AMPO team may be ready to return to the peloton under the name Murcia-AMPO team in 2010. AMPO is expected to announce its continued sponsorship before the registration deadline on Tuesday, according to team manager Jose Antonio Ortuño. It is also likely that Michael Rasmussen will join the team if it gets its licence.

    The team's deadline for for registering with the International Cycling Union is December 1. It received the extension from the UCI's earlier November 15 deadline after encountering difficulties in securing sponsorship for the coming year.

    Ortuño said that it looks like the team would reduce its personnel by three for 2010, "because that requires logical adjustments to reduce the schedule and times of crisis." The reductions would not affect the team's Basque or Murcian cyclists, he told todociclismo.com.

    "We are very much the hallmarks of our sponsors, and in the specific case of the Basque participation, we are always open to considerations of AMPO." said Ortuño.

    If the team receives its licence, it is likely to sign Danish rider Michael Rasmussen, “who still has a lot of firepower in his legs, as could be seen by his brilliant return to competition on Mexican soil the end of this season.”

    Rasmussen, 35, has recently returned from a two-year suspension for violations of anti-doping whereabouts regulations. Both Rasmussen and the team are keen to secure participation in the Vuelta a España next year.

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  • Keisse to Quick Step for 2010?

    Iljo Keisse (Chocolade-Jacques) finishes third behind Tom Boonen (Quick.Step-Innergetic) at the 60th Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne in Belgium on March 4, 2007. The podium finish in a major Belgian road race gives the track specialist hopes for more big results on the road.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2009, 9:55 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Six Day rider may take to the road

    Track rider Iljo Keisse may ride on the road and join Quick Step for the coming season. The Belgian team's manager Patrick Lefevere confirmed that the two have already had discussions.

    "His manager asked me for an interview. I guess this will happen next week,”, Lefevere told nieuwsblad.be. "Wouter Weylandt urged me to sign his training mate. I currently have 26 riders under contract, so I have some space. Since the deal with Alberto Contador was off, I was not planning to take anyone else, but I have already talked with Keisse. "

    Keisse, 26, is currently riding as an elite without contract for team Sacy-Deschacht. He was fired by Topsport-Vlaanderen in January, after testing positive for cathine and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) at the 2008 Gent Six Day race. The charges were recently dismissed, with the Belgian cycling federation finding there was insufficient scientific evidence that he purposefully used doping products.

    Keisse and his racing partner, German Roger Kluge, currently lead at the half-way mark of the Six Days of Gent.

    Most of Keisse's experience is on the track, but he has also ridden on the road. He finished sixth overall in the Tour of Britain in 2006 and third in Belgium's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in 2007.

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  • Bos hopes to ride Vuelta in 2010

    Theo Bos (Rabobank Continental) wins the Ronde van Nord-Holland.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2009, 10:00 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch rider happy with new team Cervélo

    Theo Bos is looking to ride the Vuelta a España in 2010 for Cervélo TestTeam. The young Dutch rider was impressed with his new team's first training camp and is excited about the new season.

    “The season will be dominated by the questions as to whether I have anything to offer, and I hope  that by September that I will have answered those,” he told the Dutch Wielermagazine.

    Bos moved from the track to the road this season, with Rabobank. “I just want to be a sprinter on the road, after my track work. I see next year as a step in that direction, and Cervélo is confident that I can realize my ambition.”

    Bos will not be the only sprinter on the team, as it features Tour de France green jersey winner Thor Hushovd. At last week's team meeting in Basel, Switzerland, he said that Hushovd and some of his helpers “seriously talked to me about my options. These helpers – like Brett Lancaster and Jeremy Hunt – will look to bring me into a good position.”

    He concluded, “The team exudes confidence and ambition, and continues with the good example that Rabobank offered. It feels like a good decision to ride for this team.”

    Bos will open his season at the Tour of Qatar, January 17 - 24.

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  • UCI begins implementation of radio ban for Elite riders

    Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) uses his race radio in Vuelta a España stage two
    Article published:
    November 28, 2009, 10:15 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Rider radios to be banned at Worlds, 1.2 and 2.2 events from 2010

    The controversial plan to ban race radios in professional cycling has moved to the next stage, with the International Cycling Union (UCI) informing national federations this week that the next phase of their elimination has begun.

    A letter was issued to the federations yesterday and outlined the changes applying to Elite men and women in 2010.

    “The ban will be gradually introduced in accordance with a timetable, the first stage of which will be: 2010 season: ban for Men Elite and Women Elite Class 2 events of the UCI international calendar, events of the national calendar as well as the UCI World Championships,” it read.

    “We are therefore asking you to take the necessary steps so that you can implement this measure of ban at all national races registered on the national calendar of your Federation.”

    A ban is already in place for the junior and under-23 categories. A trial removal was held during last year’s Tour de France, with stages ten and thirteen designated as radio-free days. The majority of the teams signed a petition protesting against the measure, and the first of the stages was marked by a pronounced go-slow. Riders were ultimately allowed to use the radio for stage 13, but were told that the ban would come in at a later date.

    Resistance has remained to the idea of competing without radios, with many making the argument that the devices increase awareness of problems such as poor road surfaces and thus aid rider safety. However other professionals have countered that that such warnings lead to an increase in speed and jostling as riders try to move forward in the peloton, causing other dangers.

    The UCI’s aim is to make racing more intuitive and less predictable, putting the onus on riders rather than their team directors to decide tactics.

    Despite the resistance shown during the Tour de France, it claims that there is broad support for the plans. “This...

  • Younger Haedo preps for Saxo Bank debut

    Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light) wins a stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2009, 10:23 GMT
    By:
    Kirsten Frattini

    Argentinean living the dream in ProTour move

    Lucas Sebastian Haedo’s success on the US road racing circuit has landed him a contract with ProTour team Saxo Bank in 2010. The Argentinean sprinter has returned to his motherland’s warm summer months to prepare for his long awaited dream of cycling at the highest level alongside elder brother Juan Jose Haedo.

    "The truth is that I’ve been waiting all my life for this moment, always waiting to be able to ride together on the same team as my brother," Haedo said. "I believe that it was destiny for me and for my brother to race together and who better than to do it with than on a team like Saxo Bank. I believe that it’s one of the best teams in the world."

    Haedo, 26, was recently released from his 2010 contract with the newly named Jamis-Sutter Home presented by Colavita. He acknowledged the efforts of manager Giovanni Lombardi for helping to secure a heavily sought-after spot on the Saxo Bank squad. However, Haedo’s results while racing in 2009 for the Colavita-Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light team were enough to turn the heads of some of the most well known Directeur Sportifs in the world.

    "I believe that this year I had a very good season in the USA," Haedo said. "Also, with the help of my brother, Jota, and [Giovanni] Lombardi the specifics were organized to join the team Saxo Bank."

    He ignited the 2009 season with three top-ten finishes at the Tour of California, North America’s marquee stage race. He concluded the season ranked third on the National Racing Calendar (NRC) with nine victories and a podium place at the Tour of Missouri.

    Only time will tell if Saxo Bank gives Haedo the opportunity to debut in one of three Grand Tours. He admitted that he hopes to return to the USA next year, in his new outfit, to compete in the Tour of California and the International Cycling Championships held in Philadelphia.

    "I hope I do a lot of races and that I have the power to adapt...