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First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, October 30, 2010

Date published:
October 30, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Steels to join Quick Step as trainer

    Tom Steels will be looking for more sprint victories this year.
    Article published:
    October 29, 2010, 19:14 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Former Belgian champion reunited with Lefevere

    Tom Steels will join Quick Step as a trainer for the 2011 season. The four-time Belgian champion was one of the most prolific sprinters in the international peloton in the late 1990s, winning 9 stages of the Tour de France in the colours of Mapei.

    Steels’ manager during his best spell at Mapei was current Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere and both men are pleased to be reunited.

    “I know many members of this group, whom I've already had the chance to work with, back when I was a rider,” Steels said.

    For his part, Lefevere is enthusiastic about his riders having access to Steels’ expertise. “After a series of meetings with our staff we managed to work out a deal,” Lefevere said. “[Steels’] training methods are considered valid and efficient. Tom will also get the chance to put all his experience as a rider and his vision of the race to work for the team as occasional sports director for some particular times during the season."

    Steels explained that his programmes will be built around the use of his Powertec training method. ““It's a system that analyses and elaborates data collected from the athletes through power measuring instruments used by every rider during training and competitions to improve their performance,” he said.

    “My thanks to the squad for the faith they are showing me. I'm sure that our collaboration will deliver mutual benefits.”

  • Contador to attend but not ride Oviedo criterium

    Alberto Contador (Astana) fires one off from the podium
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 9:54 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Spaniard to say farewell to Rubiera and thank fans for support

    Alberto Contador will attend the Criterium Ciudad de Oviedo today, but will not ride in the race. The Tour de France champion, who is facing doping charge, will say farewell to retiring rider Jose Luis Rubiera and also thank his fans for their support.

    It had been reported that Contador would compete in the race, but he clarified that he would not participate in any races until the doping charges against him had been resolved. He tested positive for Clenbuterol during the Tour this summer, which he claimed was due to contaminated meat.

    According to a statement issued by his press spokesman, Contador “did not want to miss this appointment to be present at the tribute to a racer as significant Chechu Rubiera, for whom he has always had a great admiration and respect as an individual athlete.”

    He also wanted to use “another opportunity this year to attend a cycling event and be with his teammates and friends from Asturias.”

    Contador “will take the time to personally thank all the great support which the Asturian fans have always shown, especially during these last hard weeks.”

    Still no word from UCI

    Meanwhile, the Spanish cycling federation said that it still has not heard from the International Cycling Union as to Contador's suspension. “It has been a month and still no communication. In the absence of communication from the UCI and the news that he could participate in the Criterium de Oviedo they must tell us in writing if he has an interim suspension. We made the request on Friday but we have not response," federation president Juan Carlos Castaño told the EFE news agency.

    Last week the federation said that since it had no official notification from the UCI , that Contador still had his license and could compete if he chose to.

  • Vaitkus returns to Astana for 2011

    Thomas Vaitkus (Radioshack)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 10:11 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Lithuanian to lead Classics team

    Tomas Vaitkus is returning to the Astana team in 2011, the Kazakh team announced Friday. The Lithuanian rider rode for the team in 2008 and 2009.

    Vaitkus, 28, turned pro with Landbouwkrediet in 2003, and rode for Ag2r in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he rode for Discovery Channel before joining Astana for two years. In 2010 he was with Team RadioShack.

    Vaitkus is expected to play a “major” role at the team, which called him “an excellent rider famous for the Classic races.” While he has not had any wins in the last two years, Vaitkus had three victories with Astana in 2008, including the Lithuanian national road title.

    In 2007 he was sixth in the Tour of Flanders, and won a stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2006.

    After losing Alberto Contador to Saxo Bank, the Astana team has made several changes to it's line-up for 2011. Key signing are Roman Kreuziger, Remy Di Gregorio, Simon Clarke, Mirco Lorenzetto, Francesco Masciarelli and Evgeni Petrov.

  • Italian riders question need for night time anti-doping tests

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) on the winner's podium
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 11:29 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Nibali, Pozzato and Visconti speak out

    Italian riders Vincenzo Nibali, Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti have questioned the World Anti-Doping Agency's call for night time tests as a way to the fight against possible micro-dosing of substances with a short detection window.

    In its Independent Observers report on the anti-doping testing carried by the UCI at this year's Tour de France, WADA recommended that "a more varied, targeted and aggressive approach to catching cheating riders be a priority for the UCI. This should include, but not be limited to, increasing the number of anti-doping tests, testing in less acceptable hours with a greater chance of detecting substances and/or methods with short detection windows."

    There is currently an agreement in place where riders can be tested until ten o'clock in the evening and after six o'clock in the morning. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian riders claimed that testing later than this was not necessary.

    "What difference is there between doing tests at 11 o'clock and three o'clock at night? I can't see what it changes?" Filippo Pozzato asked. "It seems a bit over the top to me. We need to speak about it in the rider's association."

    Current Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti said: "I'm not surprised by anything anymore. We've accepted everything and we'll probably accept this too. We're different to other athletes. Try and wake up a football player before the final of the Champion's League! Doping exists but the controls are efficient and very severe. Not letting us sleep at night seems obsessive."

    Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali tried to find the funny side of the idea of nigh time anti-doping tests.

    "If they want, the anti-doping inspectors can sleep in our room. There's no problem," he joked.

    "When I won the Giro stage to Asolo I was tested at the end of the stage and an hour after in the hotel. I've also been tested during the evening and then the morning after....

  • Wegmann looking forward to working with Kim Andersen

    Fabian Wegmann (Milram) took his second consecutive win at the race
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 12:07 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    German Classics specialist joins Luxembourg team for two years

    Fabian Wegmann is looking forward to riding with the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. The team announced on Friday that the two-time German road champion had signed a two-year contract.

    Wegmann has been in contact with team manager Kim Andersen “for a number of years. He always wanted me on his team, and now it has finally worked out,” he said on his personal website.

    “I am happy to belong to this team in the future,” the 30-year-old said. “In this team I will work together with the great people, some of whom I have known for a number of years, and profit from their experience and knowledge. I think we will will be successful and bring in some great victories.”

    Wegmann turned pro with Team Gerolsteiner in 2002, and stayed with the team until it ended in 2008. He has ridden for Team Milram the last two years. He won the German national road championship in 2007 and 2008, only the second man to win consecutive titles.

    He had only one victory this year, wining Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt for the second consecutive year. This year's win was made more impressive by the fact that it was only seven weeks after he broke his collarbone in a crash during the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. He rode both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France this year.

    His strengths lie in hillier one-day races. He is a Classics specialist who would most like to win the Amstel Gold Race.

    He will be part of a strong classics squad at the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project team, that also includes Fränk and Andy Schleck, Maxime Monfort and Jens Voigt. more riders from the team's 25-rider roster are expected to be announced next week. Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara is widely expected to also join the new team.


  • Bellis hopes to repay Saxo Bank for support

    Jonathan Bellis (SaxoBank) back in the saddle.
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 14:08 BST
    Daniel Friebe

    Manxman believes his talent will shine through

    Thirteen months after the scooter accident that nearly ended his life as well as his professional career, Saxo Bank rider Jonny Bellis has vowed to repay the Danish team’s loyalty for supporting him during his long recovery.

    Bellis signed a one-year contract extension with Bjarne Riis’s team in August, despite abandoning the British National Championships in June. He completed 150km of the GP Plouay but quit the Tour of Britain in September midway through stage one.

    After a recent operation to remove a hernia in his stomach, Bellis now believes that he can fulfil the potential which saw him take bronze in the 2007 Under 23 World Road Race Championships in Stuttgart.

    The hernia was the last remaining after-effect of Bellis’ life threatening accident last September, and hampered his breathing throughout the 2010 season.

    “I know a lot of people will be saying behind my back that I’ve got a lot to do and won’t make it, but, as bad as it was, the accident caused no permanent damage,” the 22 year old from Douglas told Cyclingnews.

    “You don’t just lose your talent. People will look at my performance at the Tour of Britain and draw conclusions, but that was the ride of someone who had no race fitness and was up against people who had just ridden major tours and were preparing for the Worlds. I felt normal for someone starting his season. The problem was that I was the only guy in that position.”

    One year ago

    A year ago, Bellis lay in an Italian hospital bed, a tangle of tubes hanging from his 45-kilogramme frame. He couldn’t eat and only communicated via scrawled notes or rasped one-word instructions to his traumatized parents. Pronounced beyond help on his admission to hospital on September 19 and then told he would never walk again, he went on to make a remarkable recovery.

    The Manxman was finally discharged from...

  • Löfkvist hopes to target the Giro in 2011

    Sweden's Thomas Lofkvist (Sky)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 15:53 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Swede ready to work for Sky teammates at the Tour

    Classy Swedish rider Thomas Löfkvist has revealed he hopes to be Team Sky's leader for the Giro d'Italia in 2011 and in return is willing to work for his teammates at the Tour de France.

    Löfkvist focused on the Tour de France in 2010, finishing 17th overall, higher than his Sky team leader Bradley Wiggins, but in 2009 had a bit more success in the Giro d'Italia. He wore the best young rider's white jersey for 10 days and finished 25th overall.

    "There are many great cyclists who ride Tour. In the Giro, there are more chances for me," Löfkvist told Swedish Eurosport.

    "If I get what I want, I will ride as a captain in the Giro and then to help the other riders at the Tour."

    The 2011 Giro route was unveiled in Turin last Saturday. It is packed with mountain finishes and only 45km of time trials but this does not deter Löfkvist, who believes he knows how to recover between the Giro and the Tour de France.

    "If you use the month in between well, you can benefit from riding the Giro," he said.

    Swedish Eurosport cycling expert Roberto Vacchis agreed with Löfkvist's hopes for the 2011 season.

    "He has ridden well in Italy and likes Italy. It will be a beautiful race," Vacchis said. "The race is perhaps not easier than the Tour but there are fewer top riders who are chasing victory in the Giro. If he takes another small step, things may go really good."

    Night time tests

    During the interview, Löfkvist was asked about WADA's call for night time surprise anti-doping testing.

    He admitted the tests could be necessary but questioned the effects being woken during the night would have rider's recovery, especially during a three-week stage race.

    "There should be a discussion about it before making the taking decision," Löfkvist said.

    "I would not be so happy and impressed if they turned up in the middle of the night....

  • Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan to be US registered in 2011

    A happy leader - Mara Abbott (United States)
    Article published:
    October 30, 2010, 18:17 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Abbott, Evans, Miller and Rais Pierce to lead the team

    Diadora will be the new sponsor of a major US-registered women’s team in 2011 which will be captained by Giro Donne winner Mara Abbott.

    Team owner Maurizio Fabretto has confirmed that the team will be called Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan. The team is part of the same structure as the men's Geox-TMC squad. Diadora is now owned by Italian shoe manufactuer.

    Shelley Olds Evans, Sinead Miller and Amber Rais Pierce will join Abbott in the squad as it competes in both North America and Europe.

    “Everything started in July when Diadora sponsored the Giro Donne,” Fabretto said in a statement. “That created some important results with regards to promotion of the brand and the Diadora management decided to invest in women’s cycling, believing it aligns with the promotional message they wish to transmit. The team will be part of Diadora’s plans to attack the American cycling shoe market. They believe it is strategic area for the growth.”

    The team will target the Giro Donne with Abbott, and Fabretto confirmed that Manel Lacambra will be the team’s sports director.

    “It was tough signing Abbott,” Fabretto admitted. “However both Diadora and Pasta Zara are very keen to have US riders to help promote their products. Also joining the team as directeur sportif is Manel Lacambra. It means the team will take new direction in 2011 but of course we won’t overlook the European races, we’re just widening our horizons. We’re currently working to complete the team’s line-up and can’t rule out further international signings.”

    Already confirmed for the team are Italy’s Eleonora Patuzzo, Russia’s Olga Zabelinskaya, Lithuanian Inga Cilvinaite and the Ukraine’s Alona Andruk.

    Rais Pierce told Cyclingnews she is already looking to the 2011 season with the team.

    "It's exciting to see so much depth in...