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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, August 2, 2009

Date published:
August 02, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Sponsor Fuji pleased with Vuelta appeal

    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 2:25 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Team ready to focus on preparation

    Fuji-Servetto is ready to move on and focus on its preparations for the Vuelta a España after winning the right to participate in this year’s event, according to Fuji Bikes marketing director Karen Bliss. The team received official confirmation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday evening to take part in the final Grand Tour of 2009.

    Bliss says the verdict restores the value of the ProTour license held by the team it sponsors. “I am pleased that CAS ruled in favor of Fuji-Servetto,” said Bliss. “As a UCI ProTour team they have the right to race in all ProTour and Historical events. The UCI stood with Fuji-Servetto throughout the arduous legal process. This decision restores the value of owning a ProTour license.

    “We know the team is very happy and looks forward to competing in this prestigious event and focusing all of its efforts on racing now that this is behind us,” added Bliss.

    The Grand Tour organisers attempted to keep the team from participating in several races this year, including Paris-Nice, Milan-Sanremo, the Giro d'Italia and Tirreno-Adriatico. The team, formerly known as Saunier-Duval, was not allowed in the 2009 Tour de France after last year being kicked out of the race following the EPO CERA scandal with Riccardo Riccò, winner of two stages.

    The team was given a late entry into the Giro d'Italia after being initially denied an invitation by organiser RCS Sport.

  • Bissell sacks O’Bee for ‘contract violation’

    Kirk O'Bee in the US Crit Champ jersey
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 3:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Rider working with USADA, WADA to resolve violation

    Bissel Pro Cycling has announced the immediate dismissal of rider Kirk O’Bee for violation of his contract, implying that the rider has broken anti-doping regulations. While the team didn’t go in to details on O’Bee’s violation, it added that the rider is working with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to resolve his ‘violation’.

    “I deeply regret that a mistake I made as an individual will reflect poorly on the entire sport,” said O’Bee in a statement. “I’d especially like to apologize to my team-mates and to my sponsors, and hope that my actions will not damage their good names.”

    Bissell has distanced itself from the matter, saying that the violation also breaks the terms of the rider’s contract leading to his immediate dismissal.

    “The rider’s actions are an isolated incident that occurred independently and without the knowledge of both team management and his teammates,” read a release from the team. “BISSELL and each of its team sponsors are committed to fair competition, and support efforts for an end to performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of cycling through the enforcement of a strict zero-tolerance policy.”

  • Philips a US champion after four year hiatus

    Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) at the front even after her time trial win yesterday.
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 7:28 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Back on top after turning back on sport

    Jessica Phillips (Lip Smackers) returned to bike racing after a four year absence with the kind of goals that some might call lofty. Her hard work and determination paid off however when she was crowned the 2009 United States of America Time Trial Champion on Friday.

    “I’m so thrilled I can’t even tell you,” said Phillips. “You read about people who quit and come back strong and I really wanted to be one of those people who dedicated their year to pulling off something like this. I couldn’t be more happy.”

    She is no stranger to the stars and stripes jersey, having won the Elite women’s road race in 2002. She went on to compete for high profile teams like American-based team Saturn in 2003 and then German-based team Nurenberger in 2004. However the rising star packed up and walked away from bike racing mid-season without notice.

    “I wasn’t happy like a lot of people when they go to Europe because it’s a hard experience for whatever reason,” said Phillips. “I felt like I just gave up. I left Nurenberger straight from a race and didn’t come back, I just quit.

    “I have always felt in the back of my mind that I was a quiter,” she added. “I was never happy with the decision I made to leave and I wasn’t going to be happy until I came back and gave it a real shot again.”

    During her four years away from the cycling scene, Phillips dabbled in skiing coaching, she was the manager of a restaurant and even tried graduate school. However nothing seemed to keep her attention. “I had this shadow over me, a dark place where I knew I wanted to still bike race and I wasn’t 100-percent into any of those other things,” she said.

    In her first year back Phillips came into the championships event in top form, having won the Cascade Cycling Classic stage four time trial a few days prior. The 35 kilometre course...

  • Pellizotti wants sole Giro d'Italia leadership

    Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) and his spotty brood
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 10:20 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Tour's mountain man hopes for 2010 Giro win

    Franco Pellizotti hopes to start the 2010 Giro d'Italia as sole leader with the support of Liquigas teammate and past winner, Ivan Basso. A third place in this year's edition and the mountains classification win Sunday in the Tour de France boosted his confidence.

    "I would like to start as the sole captain to see if I can win the maglia rosa," Pellizotti told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would pay back the favour to Basso at the Tour. Maybe it would be worse off, but I want to have the possibility to play all my cards and not have regrets."

    Italians Pellizotti and Basso started this year's Giro d'Italia as co-leaders for Liquigas. They helped each other until the final stages, when Basso gave his full support for Pellizotti. Basso finished fifth overall.

    "Can I win a Grand Tour? I already felt ready to do it this year. After all I've done, I think I have good reason."

    Pellizotti started the Tour de France, July 4 to 26, one month after the Giro d'Italia ended. He came close to winning three different stages and gained enough points over on the climbs to win the polka dot jersey of best climber.

    He attributes this year's performances to motivator, Andrea Mazzola. Mazzola's other clients include football player Beppe Signori and motorcyclist Mattia Pasini.

    "It not only increases confidence, but develops the belief that you can give more even when you thought you already gave your maximum."

    Pellizotti last rode both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in the same year in 2003, his third professional year. He has won three stages in the Giro and last year, finished fourth overall.

  • Lampre's Tour disappointing says director

    Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre - N.G.C.) rode his standard road bike to a 10th place finish.
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 13:18 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Learning experience for young riders

    Italy's team Lampre came away from the July's Tour de France disappointed, said sports director Maurizio Piovani. It finished last in team earnings, rival team Liquigas finished third.

    "Overall it was not positive. We were visible but we did not have concrete results," Piovani told Cyclingnews Thursday.

    Swiss David Loosli was Lampre's highest place rider in the overall classification after three weeks, 53rd. Italy's Daniele Righi, Poland's Marcin Sapa and Slovenia's Simon Spilak featured in various escape groups on different stages. Righi took the team's highest placing, sixth, in stage 14 to Besançon.

    Lampre ended the race last in team earnings, €17,040. Its rival Italian team in the race, Liquigas, finished third with €362,850. Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti won the mountains and aggressive rider classification, and Vincenzo Nibali was seventh overall and second in the young riders' classification.

    Lampre's classification hopeful, Italian Marzio Bruseghin, crashed in stage two and had a terrible day in stage four's team time trial. He ended the race in 80th, far from his third overall in the 2008 Giro d'Italia. World Champion Alessandro Ballan, who had minimal training because of a virus this spring, came close to winning stage 19 to Aubenas.

    "We hoped that Ballan would be able to find top condition. On the day to Aubenas, we could see that he had gained a lot of condition at the Tour. This is a good sign for the end of the season." He was in an escape that the main group caught 1300 metres to the finish line.

    Ballan will race the Tour of Poland next and then prepare for the World Championships at the Vuelta a España with Damiano Cunego. Piovani said Spilak and Bandiera learnt a lot in their first Tour de France. Both riders will race Spain's one-day race, Clásica San Sebastián, today.

  • McQuaid denies Rasmussen claims

    UCI President Pat McQuaid
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 18:42 BST
    Shane Stokes

    ‘No black list’ says Irishman

    UCI President Pat McQuaid has denied suggestions that the UCI influenced the Ceramica Flaminia team not to sign Danish rider Michael Rasmussen to the team. Speaking to Cyclingnews on Saturday, the Irishman said that claims by Rasmussen that he was on a ‘black list’ were untrue, as were suggestions by the team director Giuseppe Petito that the UCI’s ProTour manager Alain Rumpf put pressure on the team not to sign the climber.

    “The exact situation is that Michael Rasmussen is free to go to any team that is prepared to take him,” said McQuaid. “Neither Alain Rumpf nor anybody else in the UCI has spoken to the manager of Ceramica Flaminia and told him that he shouldn’t take Michael Rasmussen. That is a complete misinterpretation of the facts.”

    The-then Rabobank rider was leading the 2007 Tour de France when he was forced to withdraw from the race by his team. Evidence had emerged which proved he had deliberately misled the UCI as to his whereabouts before the race; he claimed to be in Mexico, but former pro Davide Cassani stated that he saw him training in the Italian Dolomites during the period in question. Rasmussen had also missed a number of out-of-competition controls.

    He finally admitted lying about his location but claimed that Rabobank was fully aware of his whereabouts, and was therefore wrong to dismiss him. He won substantial damages in a court action taken against his former team, while an appeal against his two year ban was thrown out by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    Rasmussen is currently involved in another action with CAS, appealing against the UCI’s demands that he must pay a year’s salary as per the ‘Commitment to a New Cycling’ document he signed prior to the 2007 Tour.

    The governing body had originally said that both he and Alexandre Vinokourov could not return to racing until the fine was paid. It later stated...

  • Stetina wins second straight US U23 time trial title

    Peter Stetina during July's Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon.
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 22:35 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Victory guarantees a place on world championship team

    Peter Stetina (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin) won the US's U23 national time trial championships for a second year running on Friday in Oregon. The young talent stopped the clock in the fastest time of the day, 45:34, besting Bjorn Selander (Trek-Livestrong) by 33 seconds and Tejay Van Garderen (Rabobank) by 48 seconds.

    "It was a much harder field this year," said Stetina. "Last year I won by more than two minutes. Selander had a great ride so I'm really happy for him. I believe Tejay had a derailleur problem, but I think we would have been within seconds of each other either way."

    By winning the championships event, Stetina secured his spot on the US team at the International Cyclist Union (UCI) U23 world time trial championships held on September 23 in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

    "Just the top spot in the national championships is automatic," Stetina said. "The second spot is a discretionary pick. I didn't want to be left on the discretionary list especially when some guys might be coming on form in the end of the season. Now I can focus on the Worlds without having to worry about making the selection."

    The U23 men took on a 35-kilometre course that was predominantly uphill on the way out. It mimicked the Cascade Cycling Classic's stage four time trial with the addition of a seven kilometre loop at the finish. "I had to save a lot for that extra bonus loop and it made the difference," Stetina said. "My Dad was out there timing and when I came through I was tied with Tejay, which worried me. But, I saved so much energy for that last loop, that's what made the difference."

    Stetina benefited from a personal cheering squad out on course with father and mother, Dale and Anne along with girlfriend, Dyanna. "It's hard not to succeed when everyone is supporting you. My uncle Wayne Stetina and my aunt were also out there."

  • Zirbel wins four grand in eight minutes at Elk Grove opener

    Tom Zirbel (Bissell Pro Cycling)
    Article published:
    August 01, 2009, 22:55 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    Bissell strong man powers into Elk Grove lead

    Tom Zirbel (Bissell) won the richest time trial in America at the Tour of Elk Grove opener on Friday. He blasted through the seven-kilometre course in a time of 8:25 and took away $4000, roughly $500 per minute of his time.

    In it's fourth year, the Tour of Elk Grove has expanded into a three-day stage race offering an opening time trial, a technical, 150-kilometre circuit race, and a concluding criterium on Sunday in Chicago, Illinois. More importantly is the $125,000 in cash prizes, of which $25,000 is awarded to the overall winner.

    "In all likelihood I'm not going to gain any seconds," Zirbel said. "It's just a matter of not getting time-gapped and putting our other guys in position to win and eat up some time bonuses."

    Runner up Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) missed out on the top prize by a mere one second while third placed Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis) finished four seconds back.

    Team Bissell and BMC placed several riders inside the top 10 which should ensure a tactical race as the stages progress.

    "The time bonuses are huge and the finish bonuses are really big so it will be a tactical race," said Bookwalter. "Zirbel may not be known as the most technically savvy rider but over the past year I have seen him improve ten-fold and I do not discount him for the overall."

    The opening time trial put mere seconds between each rider and the time bonuses make the overall title within reach between a mix of overall general classification riders and sprinters.

    "I think everyone went into it wanting to come out with a good time," Menzies said. "It's such a close race that everyone has to put in their best effort. I think anyone who rode in the top 30 is still in it for the overall. There are 20 seconds of bonuses just at the finish line."