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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, November 6, 2010

Date published:
November 06, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • De Maar dreams of riding Tour de France in Curaçao champion's jersey

    Marc De Maar (UnitedHealthcare pb Maxxis).
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 9:25 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    UnitedHealthcare rider moves to Quick Step in 2011

    The Curaçao national champion Marc de Maar will join Quick Step in 2011 and hopes to show his special jersey at the Tour de France.

    De Maar rode for UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis team this year after six years with Rabobank. He adopted Antillean citizenship in June, but when the Antilles was dissolved as a nation in October, he became a citizen of Curaçao. His father lives on Curaçao, and de Maar won both the national road and time trial titles this year. He is expected to ride in Saturday’s Amstel Curaçao Race alongside Andy and Frank Schleck, Alessandro Petacchi, Tony Martin, Jurgen Vandenbroeck and Jacob Fuglsang.

    De Maar rode for Rabobank from 2004 to 2009 but does not look back happily on his spell with the Dutch squad, describing it as time of “injuries, misunderstandings and resentment by the team management.”

    In his first year on the Dutch ProTour team he had “the bad luck that I immediately finished 15th and 21st in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. They thought they had discovered the new top rider for the coming years.” It was a role with which he was not comfortable and eventually he rebelled, he told

    “I just could not accept decisions made by the team leaders. I asked why I had to do a certain task. When I was told it was because they said so, I had problems with that. But it was partly my fault.”

    De Maar considered retiring at the end of 2009 when his contract with Rabobank ended, but instead “I talked to my ex-teammate Rory Sutherland at UnitedHealthcare. The deal was immediately done.”

    After a year in the US, he has now returned to Europe to join Quick Step, although it is still unsure if the Belgian team will have ProTeam status. However De Maar insists it is “still really a top team.”

    He added, “I feel reborn. I’ve discovered over the...

  • Arrieta to Movistar as directeur sportif

    Jose Luis Arrieta( AG2R)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 10:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spanish team announces three more signings

    José Luis Arrieta will join Movistar as a directeur sportif for the coming season, after an 18-year career as a pro rider. The team also announced the signings of three riders, Javier Iriarte, Enrique Sanz and Fran Perez.

    Arrieta, 39, turned professional in 1993 with Banesto. He remained with the team until joining Ag2r in 2006. His last race was the Vuelta a España, which he had to abandon on stage 15 due to knee problems. He won a stage at the Vuelta in 2006.

    Iriarte, 23, turned pro with Burgos Monumental in 2008, but last rode in the Elite 2 ranks in 2009. Sanz, 21, is also an Elite 2 rider who this year had four victories, including stages in the Tours of Toledo, Aretxabaleta, and Bermeo.

    The two young riders will be joined by veteran Perez. The 35-year-old has been with the team directed by Eusebio Unzue since 2005. He won two stages of the Tour de Romandie in 2003 and the Clasica de Almeria in 2006. Perez served an 18-month suspension for EPO use from October 2003 to April 2005.

    Movistar was most recently known under the name Caisse d'Epargne. The French bank is ending its sponsorship this year, and Movistar, the brand name for Telefonica's cellphone network in Spain and other Latin American countries, took over the sponsorship.

    The squad has nevertheless lost its two biggest stars for next year. Alejandro Valverde is currently serving a doping-related suspension until the end of December 2011, and Luis Leon Sanchez is leaving the team after four years and will ride for Rabobank next season.

  • Cancellara buy-out made possible by Swiss energy drink?

    Golden Fabian: Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) on the podium after winning gold by more than a minute in the men's elite time-trial.
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 10:26 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Contract with Luxembourg team still not confirmed but extremely likely

    The Luxembourg Cycling Project has yet to officially confirm that Fabian Cancellara will ride for the new team in 2011 but more and more evidence is indicating that the Swiss rider has inked a deal with the new squad that will include the Schleck brothers and many of his former teammates at Saxo Bank.

    According to the Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien, Nygaard has secured sponsorship from the Swiss energy drink Maca Loca that already backs the Swiss Cycling Federation. It seems the sponsorship from Maca Loca has facilitated the arrival of Cancellara to the team by covering the cost of his 1.83 million Euro contract buy-out payment to Saxo Bank.

    Cancellara has made it clear he wants to remain with his former teammates, recently telling Diario Vasco: "At Saxo Bank we had a great time and I want to continue with that group of people."

    On Friday L'Equipe suggested that Cancellara signed a contract with Nygaard as early as September 22, just before flying out to Worlds Championships in Australia, where he won his fourth time trial world title.

    Nygaard is announcing his new riders every few days but has still to reveal the title sponsor of the team.

    Stuart O'Grady, Daniele Bennati, Jakob Fuglsang, Jens Voigt, Linus Gerdemann, Fabian Wegmann, Maxime Monfort, Wouter Weylandt and Brice Feillu are amongst those officially announced as part of the of the team. Other riders are expected to be announced this afternoon.

  • Alex Rasmussen hoping for Tour de France debut with HTC-Columbia

     Alex Rasmussen (Denmark) approaches the line
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 12:10 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Team management encourages Dane to target spot on the Tour squad

    Alex Rasmussen's move to HTC-Columbia could mean he rides the Tour de France for the first time in his career. Both team manager Rolf Aldag and sports director Brian Holm have encouraged the Dane to set the Tour as a goal in 2011.

    "Rolf Aldag said that I must aim at the Tour de France and for the team time trial. The Tour de France has now become a new dream for me," Rasmussen told the Danish news agency Ritzau.

    His chances look good, according to Holm, “but the big question is whether he can handle a three-week stage race. We will find out during the season. We must see if he is strong enough because we don't really know him yet.”

    Rasmussen never really thought riding the Tour during his two years at Saxo Bank. “I had different priorities and they had so many climbers that I never even considered it,” he said.

    Next month the Dane will be in the wind tunnel in Germany, testing new equipment and work on his time trial position with HTC.

    The 26-year-old only turned pro in 2009. Most of his success has been on the track and he is the reigning world Scratch champion. He won four races on the road this year, taking two stages at the Four Days of Dunkirk and one at the Vuelta a Andalucia plus the GP Herning.

  • Colnago-CSF Inox confirms 2011 line-up

    Lucky for one: Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF Inox) wins stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 14:39 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Pozzovivo, Belletti and Modolo lead Italian team

    The Colnago-CSF Inox team has announced its line-up for 2011 season, with climber Domenico Pozzovivo and sprinters Manuel Belletti and Sacha Modolo leading the squad of 16 riders.

    The team was awarded a Professional Continental licence this week and has retained 10 riders from the 2010 line-up and added four neo-pros and signed two other riders.

    Both Pozzovivo and Giro stage winner Manuel Belletti have extended their contracts with the team until 2012.

    Pozzovivo suffered in the Giro d’Italia due to injuries sustained in a crash on stage one in the Netherlands but hopes to target the seven mountain finishes in the 2011 Giro. He won the Brixia Tour in July and finished second in the Tre Valli Varesine behind Dan Martin. Belletti won stage 13 of the Giro close to his home in Cesena and was one of the sprinting revelations of the season in Italy, along with Sacha Modolo, who finished fourth at Milan-San Remo in his debut season as a professional. 

    The squad also retained Marco Frapporti, Federico Canuti, Gianluca Brambilla, Stefano Pirazzi, Simone Stortoni, Filippo Savini and Alberto Contoli. The new signings are stage racer Manuele Caddeo, who finished second overall in the GiroBio in 2009 and sprinter Andrea Piechele, who raced with Carmiooro-NGC in 2010.

    The four new professionals in the team are some of the most talented in Italy: Angelo Pagani, Andrea Pasqualon, Paolo Locatelli and Omar Lombardi. Between them they won 15 elite and Under 23 races in 2010.

    “The target will be to do well in the historical Italian races, which we hope to get invited to after this year’s good performances,” directeur sportif Roberto Reverberi said in a statement announcing the team’s line-up.

    “The high number of summit finishes at the Giro d’Italia look to be tailor-made for a climber like Domenico Pozzovivo, who has matured a lot over the last two seasons. He was only prevented...

  • Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project announce three more riders

    Anders Lund (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    November 05, 2010, 15:37 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Lund, Mortensen and Stamsnijder confirmed on board

    The Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project revealed the signing of three more riders as the new team moves ever closer to completing its 25-rider roster for 2011.

    The team is widely expected to secure Fabian Cancellara after he opted to buy his way out of his contract with Saxo Bank. However, there is still no confirmation on the time trial world champion joining his former teammates at the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project.

    The team's latest signings are young Danish riders Anders Lund and Martin Mortensen and Dutchman Tom Stamsnijder.

    "Anders Lund is a great rider who just keeps improving," Team Manager Kim Andersen said in a statement issued by the team. "We debated a long time about where his strengths lay, but judging by his impressive climbing in the Giro and the stupendous support he gave to Frank Schleck in the Spanish mountains during the 2010 Vuelta, I honestly think Anders will become a great Grand Tour climber."

    "Martin is a good strong rider in the Classics and has made a lot of progress this past season. He is only 25 and is already a good rider with a lot of room for growth."

    "Tom (Stamsnijder) loves the Classics and I think he can develop into a great Classics rider," Andersen said. "He is only 25 and is most definitely on his way up, but he is also a team player so his ambitions will certainly coincide with the goals of the team."

    Both Stamsnijder and Mortensen hope to play a key role in the Luxembourg's Classics squad.

    "I want to grow as a professional and improve things like my time trialling, but most importantly I want to prove my worth to the team by helping out throughout the season," Stamsnijder said.

    Mortensen said, "I like to pull hard all day at the front of the peloton and in so doing open up the chance for one of the leaders to win. I think races like the Spring Classics are where I can get some personal results, but riding for a winning team in a Grand Tour is also a big goal for...

  • Riis denies signing Michael Rasmussen

    The controversial Michael Rasmussen pictured at the Tre Valli Varesine
    Article published:
    November 06, 2010, 9:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Says Dane has a right to return, but it doesn't have to be Saxo Bank

    Bjarne Riis has denied reports that he is on the verge of signing Michael Rasmussen to ride for Team Saxo Bank-SunGard for the coming year. He said that while the Dane should have another chance to ride for a high-ranked team, it will not necessarily be his team.

    Italian media sources reported earlier this week that the signing was imminent.

    “What is currently going on has nothing to do with him,” Riis told the Danish Ritzau news agency.

    “Basically nothing has happened in the matter from my side. There's nothing that I've looked at and nothing that I've had under discussion. Nothing has happened," he repeated.

    Now that Rasmussen has served his doping-related suspension, Riis said that he deserves another opportunity to ride at the highest level, but the question is with which team. “I stand by what I said, that it would be appropriate for him to have a chance. But I have not said that it should be with me.”

    Rasmussen started his career as a stagiaire with Team CSC, as it was then known, in 2001, and stayed with the team in 2002, before signing with Rabobank.

    Rasmussen, 36, served a two-year suspension for lying about his whereabouts prior to the 2007 Tour de France. After riding as an Elite 2 Rider in 2009, he was with Miche for the first part of the 2010 season. His contract ended the middle of April, and he had hoped to get a contract for the latter part of the season which would allow him to ride the Vuelta a Espana. He was unsuccessful in his quest.

    Rasmussen most recently appeared on the Danish version of the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”

  • Mosquera B sample remains to be tested

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia).
    Article published:
    November 06, 2010, 10:47 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Spanish rider remains under investigation after Hydoxyethal starch positive

    The International Cycling Union has confirmed that Ezequiel Mosquera remains under investigation for doping, contrary to reports circulating in the Spanish press earlier in the week. Mosquera returned an adverse analytical finding for Hydoxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España.

    UCI press officer Enrico Carpani told AP that the analysis of Mosquera’s B sample is “still in preparation” and that therefore the investigation into the Spanish rider is ongoing.

    Mosquera returned the sample with traces of Hydoxyethal starch on September 16 after stage 18 of the Vuelta. The positive test was announced two weeks later on September 30.

    Hydoxyethal starch is a blood plasma volume expander that can serve to dilute the blood without decreasing the amount of red blood cells present. Due to this property it may be used as a masking agent for EPO. The substance can only be taken intravenously.

    Mosquera’s Xacobeo Galicia teammate David Garcia also tested positive for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España, and a week later it was revealed that he had also returned an adverse analytical finding for EPO.

    On Wednesday, Marca had reported that the investigation of Mosquera had been closed as the rider had supposedly been cleared by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both WADA and the rider himself were quick to deny that this was the case.

    “I have to say that I haven’t had news for weeks. WADA hasn’t been in communication, and I only wish that things were that easy,” Mosquera said in a statement.

    Prior to the initial announcement of his positive test, Mosquera signed for Vacansoleil for the 2011 season and the Spaniard is technically free to compete until the outcome of the analysis of his B sample has been announced.

    However, the Vacanasoleil team revealed during the week that it requested that the UCI not include Mosquera’s world...