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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, October 29, 2011

Date published:
October 29, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • CONI requests ban for Damiano Caruso

    Damiano Caruso (Liquigas - Cannondale) was best young rider on the stage
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 8:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian accused of attempting to acquire banned substances

    The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has requested a suspension for Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) for allegedly attempting to procure banned substances.

    In a brief statement issued on Thursday afternoon, CONI announced that it has referred Caruso to its anti-doping tribunal for “complicity in the attempted acquisition of banned substances,” a violation of article 2.8 of the WADA code.

    The four-year ban requested by CONI is to be back-dated to 6 December 2010, and two years of the sentence are to be suspended. Thus, if Caruso is found guilty of the infraction, he would have the possibility of returning to competitive action at the end of 2012.

    While it is not clear what substances Caruso is accused of attempting to acquire, his Liquigas-Cannondale team said that the alleged offence dates back to 2007 “when the rider was not a professional, and was a member of the Mastromarco amateur team.”

    “Liquigas Sport wishes to underline its own desire to know more of the details of the matter and is granting the rider Caruso the possibility of clarifying his own position with the appropriate bodies as soon as possible,” read a statement from Liquigas.

    “At the moment, the team will not take any action against the rider until sporting justice brings its own work to a conclusion.”

    Caruso, who hails from Ragusa in Sicily, moved to Tuscany in 2007 to ride with the Mastromarco squad. Italian under 23 champion in 2008, Caruso turned professional with LPR Brakes the next year. He joined Liquigas-Cannondale at the beginning of this season.

  • BigMat in talks to co-sponsor FDJ

    Marc Madiot is a proponent of radio-free racing
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 10:14 BST
    Cycling News

    Madiot denies Millar link

    BigMat is set to come on board as co-sponsor of FDJ for the 2012 season, according to a report in L’Équipe.

    The building material distributor had apparently signed a letter of intent to co-sponsor Garmin-Cervélo next year, but subsequently withdrew from the deal and entered into negotiations with FDJ.

    BigMat is understood to be prepared to boost Marc Madiot’s budget by around three million euro. In 2011, FDJ had a reported budget of nine million euro, and the team has never had a second title sponsor on its distinctive jersey since its formation in 1997.

    While negotiations are still ongoing between the two parties, L’Équipe reports that talks are “well advanced and should finish with a partnership agreement for 2012.”

    The BigMat name is already in the peloton as title sponsor of BigMat-Auber 93, and the Continental team will continue unaffected next season. The team’s 1.8 million euro budget is provided by BigMat France, while BigMat’s international entity will sponsor FDJ.

    After a year at Pro Continental level, FDJ is in contention for one of the final three berths in the WorldTour for next season, but is all but guaranteed a wildcard place at the Tour de France should it fail to gain automatic entry.

    BigMat's last appearance as a sponsor at the Tour de France came in 2001. When its team failed to secure invitations in the following seasons, BigMat withdrew its support, and did not return until 2010.

    While Madiot is set to welcome Garmin’s purported sub-sponsor into the fold for 2012, he laughed off a suggestion that Garmin rider David Millar would also be coming to FDJ.

    “We came across one...

  • Rasmussen waiting for November verdict

    Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 11:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Dane received three whereabouts warnings

    Alex Rasmussen must continue to wait until November 17 to see what sanction he will face after receiving three warnings in an eighteen-month period for missing out of competition doping controls.

    The Dane received two warnings from Anti-Doping Denmark in 2010 after failing to adequately compile his whereabouts form, and he subsequently missed an out-of-competition test by the UCI in April of this year.

    Rasmussen has insisted that the missed tests were due to a lack of organisation on his part rather than an attempt to cheat. Given the nature of the case, he had hoped that the Danish Olympic Committee (DIF) would be able to reach a verdict sooner than anticipated.

    “The wait is a little annoying,” Rasmussen told “The case is clear and I just want a decision so that I can move on. But unfortunately, DIF cannot assemble the people for consultation before then.”

    Ramussen’s contract was terminated by HTC-Highroad in September after the team was informed that he had received three warnings for missed tests. With HTC-Highroad set to disband at the end of the season, Rasmussen had already agreed to ride for Garmin-Cervélo for 2012.

    Garmin-Cervélo subsequently stated that it would not sign Rasmussen due to its “stringent” anti-doping policy, but the rider has since claimed that team manager Jonathan Vaughters will complete the signing if he is cleared of wrongdoing.

    “They are also awaiting action, and then we’ll talk,” Rasmussen said.

  • Lequatre calls for change to WorldTour points system

    Geoffroy Lequatre (RadioShack)
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 15:25 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Lack of incentives for domestiques to work for their leaders

    UCI WorldTour points have proved a valuable commodity for riders searching for teams in the final weeks of the season, but Geoffroy Lequatre believes that the fabric of the sport risks being irrevocably damaged unless changes are made to the current system.

    Lequatre endured a late scramble for a new team following the announcement of the merger of RadioShack and Leopard Trek in September. After two years of resolute service as a domestique with RadioShack, he had precious few WorldTour points clocked up, and found it difficult to stoke the interest of teams finalising their applications for entry into cycling’s top flight

    “At the end of the season, all of the teams were hunting for riders, and the riders were hunting for teams, but when you have zero points or very few points, it’s really difficult,” Lequatre told Cyclingnews.

    Although he has since found a place with Pro Continental outfit Bretagne-Schuller for 2012, Lequatre is concerned that riders have increasingly less incentive to work as domestiques for their leaders, and will have to ride more selfishly in order to continue at WorldTour level.

    Currently, the UCI assesses the WorldTour applicants’ “sporting value” by tallying the points of their top 15 ranked riders along with their own team standings points.

    “Next season will be interesting, because riders will start to think differently,” Lequatre said. “Everybody will be riding just to chase points, especially at the end of the season.

    “People will ride for themselves instead of for their leaders, because they need to adapt themselves if they want to continue. It could really change the mentality in...

  • Rodriguez expects to remain at Katusha beyond 2012

    Joaquim Rodriguez at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 16:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard in talks to extend contract

    Joaquim Rodriguez is confident that he will remain at Katusha beyond the end of the 2012 season. He has one year remaining on his current deal with the Russian squad and is in negotiations with the team’s new management to extend his stay.

    “It’s true that with the old management of Katusha, the agreement to renew for 2013 was practically done. Then there was a change in management, and now we are negotiating with the new directors,” Rodriguez said, according to Marca.

    As part of the changes, Hans-Michael Holczer, formerly of Gerolsteiner, has taken over as manager of Katusha from Andrei Tchmil, who is set to run for the presidency of the European Cycling Union next year. Valerio Piva and Christian Henn join the team as directeurs sportifs, and Erik Zabel arrives as sprint coach.

    “I’m sure that things won’t change much as I see good intentions on their part,” Rodriguez said. “I have always felt at ease and up to now they haven’t given me any reason to change the situation.”

    Looking back on his 2011 campaign, Rodriguez was pleased with his performance in the classics, even if he was unable to convert high placings into wins. “I think it’s been my best year in the classics. I got on the podium in Amstel, Flèche and Lombardy, and came fourth in San Sebastian,” he said.

    Fifth overall at the Giro d’Italia, Rodriguez travelled to the Vuelta a España with high hopes of challenging for the podium in Madrid. Although he took two stages and wore the red jersey early on, he slipped out of contention in week two and suffered a heavy fall on stage 16. He went on to lose the green jersey to Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) on the final stage. “I’m sure that if I hadn’t had...

  • Project 1t4i finalises team with Kluge

    German Roger Kluge has signed with ProTour team Milram for 2010
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 19:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Men and women named for 2012 season

    German Roger Kluge was renewed with the organisation which will operate as Project 1t4i until its title sponsor is named in 2012. The Skil-Shimano team announced the 25-year-old strongman as its final signing for the upcoming season.

    Kluge began his career as an accomplished track and six day rider before transitioning to the road with LKT Team Brandenburg. He made the leap to the ProTour with Milram in 2010, with which he won the Neuseen Classics. He moved to Skil-Shimano the following year where he has been a valuable member of the lead-out train.

    While continuing to develop on the road, Kluge will also return to the track for the Olympic Games in London, where he hopes to contest the omnium. Kluge was European omnium champion in 2010 and a silver medalist in the points race at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

    The Project 1t4i men's and women's teams are complete for 2012, but the men's status is still up in the air after the squad failed to meet the UCI's sporting criteria for the WorldTour. Just four points shy of the top 20, the team is hoping to be considered for the WorldTour should the Geox-TMC team fail to find a replacement sponsor for the shoe maker.

    Alexandre Geniez
    Matthieu Sprick
    Thierry Hupond
    Thomas Damuseau
    Yann Huguet
    Thomas Bonnin
    Simon Geschke
    Marcel Kittel
    Roger Kluge
    John Degenkolb
    Patrick Gretsch
    Johannes Fröhlinger
    Dominic Klemme
    Ronan van Zandbeek
    Tom Veelers
    Roy Curvers
    Koen de Kort
    Albert Timmer
    Tom Dumoulin
    Ramon Sinkeldam
    Tom Stamsnijder
    Feng Han
    Ji Cheng
    Bert de Backer
    Yukihiro Doi

  • Leukemans extends with Vacansoleil-DCM

    Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished third overall.
    Article published:
    October 28, 2011, 21:38 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Two more years on Dutch squad for Belgian strong man

    30-year-old Belgian Björn Leukemans has signed on for two more years with the Vacansoleil-DCM team, he announced on his personal website today.

    "After the season, there have been discussions with the management team," he wrote. "They appreciated the performances I put down in the Spring and Fall, and they wanted not only to improve my wages but to extend my contract until 2013."

    Vacansoleil general manager Daan Luijkx told Cyclingnews that the contract has not yet been signed, but that the verbal agreement had been made for both Leukemans and his compatriot Kevin Van Impe (QuickStep), who was offered a one-year deal.

    Luijkx said Leukemans had shown great value to the team in the Classics. "Not just this year, but every season he has had good performances. If you look at every race, he was always at the front - Tour of Flanders [7th], Paris-Roubaix [13th], Amstel Gold [7th], Liège - Bastogne - Liège [9th], and in the final part of the year at the Canadian races [6th and 14th]. He has also served as a mentor for the young guys in the Classics."

    The 2012 season will be an extended audition for Van Impe, 30, who Luijkx said was offered a one-year contract "to see if he fits with the team".

    Leukemans is excited to continue with the Dutch team, concluding his entry by writing, "For the next two years, I want to defend the colors of Vacansoleil-DCM with as much conviction and enthusiasm as before."

    Vacansoleil made the UCI's top 15 teams in its determination of sporting criteria for the 2012 WorldTour, and Luijkx said he's confident that the team will be granted entry into the top tier for the second year in a row.

  • Belisol as co-sponsor to Lotto-Ridley

    Andrei Greipel took the bronze medal
    Article published:
    October 29, 2011, 9:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian company has sponsored womens' team

    New team Lotto-Ridley has found a new co-sponsor, with Belisol stepping in to sponsor the men's WorldTour team in 2012, according to reports in the Belgian media.

    Lotto-Ridley is newly formed after Lotto split from Omega Pharma. The team will feature such riders as Andre Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts and newcomer Mehdi Sohrabi.

    Belisol is a Belgian company which manufactures windows and doors and is the current sponsor of Sint-Truiden football club; it has also sponsored the Lotto womens' team.

    Lotto-Ridley describes itself as a Belgian team with foreign riders. “Our project will remain Belgian,” sports director Marc Sergeant told Sportwereld. “But if you want to count in the World Tour, you also need foreigners.  It's that simple at the top of the game.”