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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, November 5, 2011

Date published:
November 05, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Photo gallery: Stars gather for Amstel Curaçao

    Frank Schleck uses his only defense - blinding the opposition
    Article published:
    November 04, 2011, 21:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Fun in the sun for Schlecks, Sagan

    The stars of the 2011 peloton gathered in the "after-party" of the season, the Amstel Curaçao, on the tiny former Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela.

    Andy and Fränk Schleck, Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Johnny Hoogerland and Johan Vansummeren were amongst the assembled riders and press who travelled to the Caribbean for the festivities, which included scuba diving, volleyball and a hilarious tug-of-war between bony-chested bicyclists.

    Hoogerland emerged victorious in the warm-up Jan Thiel criterium on Thursday. The main event gets underway Saturday morning at 11am local time.

    Enjoy our photo gallery, courtesy Roberto Bettini.

  • Tour of Southland continues after winter weather

    The peloton rolls through the Southland countryside
    Article published:
    November 04, 2011, 23:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Time trial canceled

    The organisers of New Zealand's PowerNet Tour of Southland were forced to cancel the stage seven individual time trial after winter weather blew in, making the 12.8km course unsafe.

    Josh Atkins (PowerNet) will carry the race leader's jersey into the final stage to Invercargill, which will start on time at 1:30pm as planned.

    However, the finishing circuits in Queens Park on the planned 87km route have been removed, lopping 12km off of the total distance. The race will now end on Gala Street rather than entering the circuit.

    Luckily for the riders, the ILT Velodrome in Invercargill has been made available for the official jersey presentations following the stage at 4:30.

  • Wegelius to Garmin-Cervelo as Director Sportif

    Charly Wegelius (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 11:47 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Veteran to concentrate on Italian races

    Charles Wegelius will join Garmin-Cervelo next season as a director sportif. The 33-year-old called time on his 11 year career in September 2011. He will spend the majority of his time leading the team in their Italian programme.

    “He has spent most of his career in Italy and he knows Italian cycling inside out. Culturally he’ll fit in with our quirky but professional organisation,” said Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters.

    Wegelius will join a reshuffled directorial line up at Garmin, with Allan Peiper joining and Lionel Marie departing for GreenEdge. Adrie van Diemen, Johnny Weltz and Bingen Fernandez remain at the team.

    “We’ve got experienced guys who have been doing this for years. When I look for directors I look for something very specific and Charley has that. I need them to be of a certain mentality and you can build the experience around that but that unique instinct to communicate, you’ve either got that or you don’t.”

    Wegelius forged a career in the pro ranks as a dedicated and dependable domestique. His climbing skills saw him work for several Giro winners and although he missed out on winning a professional race, Vaughters is certain that he will improve the team.

    “He was a talented climber, a dedicated domestique. He was a hard working guy and that’s what I want in directors. You want guys that understand the racing. Sometimes you have to be a guy who has suffered during races and a guy that can’t afford to make mistakes. Charley has seen the race from all sides. You look for the smartest guys, not the ones with the best VO2 max.”

  • Contador calm and confident ahead of CAS hearing

    Three-time Tour champion Alberto Contador at the presentation of the 2012 Tour de France route.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 12:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard marries in Pinto on Saturday

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) is confident that he will be cleared of wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport when it deliberates on his positive test for Clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France later this month.

    The Spanish Cycling Federation cleared Contador in February, but both the UCI and WADA have appealed the matter to CAS, and the hearings will be held from November 21-24. In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Contador said that he is approaching the hearing “with a lot of calmness and a lot of confidence.”

    “When you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear,” he insisted. “I’m fighting as a matter of pride, and it’s unthinkable to accept any kind of sanction.”

    Even though his future continues to hang in the balance, Contador is already planning his 2012 campaign. After failing in his bid to land a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double this year, he is unlikely to ride the Italian race as he looks to keep his powder dry for July.

    “I don’t think so, not this year,” Contador admitted, and he also stressed that aiming for the Ardennes Classics would be “complicated.”

    The only certainty on Contador’s pre-Tour de France calendar appears to be Tirreno-Adriatico, although he is weighing up the possibility of beginning his season considerably earlier than usual in Argentina, at the Tour de San Luis in January.

    “I could start from the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, even if I don’t like racing in January, because I’m afraid of coming into form too soon,” he said. “I certainly want to be at Tirreno-Adriatico. It’s a race that I...

  • Vuelta a España 2012 with team time trial and Bola del Mundo

    The Vuelta a Espana previously visited Bola del Mundo in 2010.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 13:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team time trial on the Running of the Bulls course

    The 2012 Vuelta a España will open with a team time trial in Pamplona, Spain, and its also expected to include a mountaintop finish on the Bola del Munda, scene of the 2010 showdown between Vincenzo Nibali and Ezequiel Mosquera.  The 2012 course is not scheduled to be presented until January, but a few details have already started filtering through.

    Organiser Unipublic is looking at three different routes fo the opening team time trial, the Diario de Navarra reported.  The 15 km route may well include the city's most famous stretch of road, the 852 meters where the annual running of the bulls is held.

    "You can make a team time trial there, and we will put it in the race, but it will not be the centerpiece of the race. We want to show more of the city," explained Abraham Olano.

    The end of the race is expected to include another visit to the Bola del Munda, a mountaintop finish near Madrid, according to  The climb made its first appearance in the 2010 Vuelta, and featured a duel between the race's top two riders, with Ezequiel Mosquera winning the stage but failing to take enough time to catch race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

    It had been rumoured that the race would also visit the Canary Islands, but, Marca said, that “would have to wait at least another year.”

  • Belgium to bid for Worlds between 2016 and 2019

    Mario Cipollini had a stellar year in 2003 and capped it with the rainbow jersey in Zolder
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 16:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Entire country would host the events

    Belgium will bid to host the UCI World Championships later this decade, offering the entire country as a venue instead of one city.  The plan would be to hold the events in each of the country's nine provinces.

    The Belgian Cycling Federation (BWB) will bid to host the championships between 2016 and 2019, and offer a unique plan.

    “The intention is that the world championships for all categories during the nine days would visit all provinces of our country. That would be unique,” said  Prime Minister Yves Leterme.

    "Not a city or a county, but the country will be the BWB candidate. As a small country, we are more likely to be a candidate as a nation instead of a place like Hooglede or Spa,” said Leterme, according to Sportwereld.

    The country last held the Worlds back in 2002.  “We will bring the Worlds back to Belgium, we will win!” the politician declared.

    Naturally there is a financial side.  “We have adopted an operating grant of 75,000 Euros but we will also ask for a contribution from the regions to support the bid,” Leterme said.

  • Dual role for Vanendert at 2012 Tour de France

    Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) signs on for stage 1.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 17:43 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian coy on King of the Mountains challenge

    Jelle Vanendert is hopeful that he will have the freedom to chase another stage win at the 2012 Tour de France, a race he will ride in the service of Jurgen Van Den Broeck as part of the new Lotto-Ridley set-up.

    Vanendert showed his mettle in the mountains last July when he bounded to victory atop Plateau de Beille. That win came after his leader Van Den Broeck had been forced out of the race in a crash at the end of week one, and Vanendert is mindful of his place in the team’s climbing hierarchy.

    “I’ll be at the Tour with the goal of winning another stage and of helping VDB get a good placing overall,” Vanendert told

    The 2012 Tour gets underway on Belgian roads in Liège, and Vanendert is excited about the opportunities for puncheurs in the race’s opening week, as the peloton heads southwards into the Vosges and Jura.

    “There are lots of opportunities for me, right from the first week at Seraing or Boulogne, and then later on in Vosges and the Jura,” he explained. “They’re stages that are set up like Walloon classics, and I love those races.”

    Although next year’s Grand Boucle is replete with time trialling miles, Vanendert is intrigued by the presence of so many new climbs on the route and he pointed out that some prior knowledge of the route could reap rich dividends.

    “I really like this 2012 Tour, even if time trialling isn’t my forte and 100 kilometres is a lot,” he said. “Very few people know the majority of the climbs we’ll do next year, even in the Alps and Pyrenees. That’s going to...

  • Gallopin looks ahead to Cancellara classics apprenticeship

    Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) is set to move to RadioShack next year.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2011, 20:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Coupe de France champion on the Tour, Olympics and his move to RadioShack-Nissan

    Tony Gallopin is looking forward to serving a classics apprenticeship under Fabian Cancellara at RadioShack-Nissan next season, but the Frenchman is also hopeful that he will have the chance to chase his own ambitions at his new team.

    “In the team, there are a lot of climbers around the Schlecks, but there were places to be filled for the classics,” Gallopin told L’Équipe. “My role will be to help Cancellara, I have a lovely programme up until Paris-Roubaix. With a leader like him, it’s really worth it.”

    The 23-year-old Gallopin enjoyed a solid 2011, taking overall victory in the Coupe de France, thanks to victory in the Flèche d’Émeraude and a series of high placings in the remainder of the events. He is keen to progress on the international stage next season, after his move from Cofidis.

    “Why not win a semi-classic? If I do the maximum for the team, I think that it will returned if the occasions presents itself for me,” he said. “And then there are also the Olympics, the Vuelta and Valkenburg (site of the world championships – ed.)”

    Gallopin acknowledged that a place in RadioShack’s Tour de France roster may well be beyond him in his first season at the team, but explained that he would gladly swap a Tour start for a place in the French squad for the Olympics.

    “I’m focused on the classics, and when you see the team at RadioShack, the Tour can’t be a priority for me, so I won’t necessarily be disappointed if I don’t do it,” he said. “For...