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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, December 13, 2009

Date published:
December 13, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Schumacher, Rebellin challenge Olympic disqualification to CAS

    Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2009, 18:00 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Italian also ordered to doping charges hearing next week

    Stefan Schumacher and Davide Rebellin have appealed their disqualifications from the Beijing Olympics to the Court of Appeal for Sports, the court announced Friday. In addition, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) summoned Rebellin to a hearing on the doping charges this coming week.

    The two cyclists were found to have traces of CERA, the new generation of EPO, in doping controls taken at the Olympic games. Rebellin, who finished second in the road race, last month returned his silver medal and repaid the 75,000 Euro he had been awarded by CONI.

    Both riders have denied using CERA or any doping product.

    The CAS said that the two have asked it to annul the decision of the International Olympic Committee to disqualify them due to doping violations. No date has yet been set for the hearing. The decision is expected within four months of the hearing being held.

    In a related matter, Rebellin was summoned to hearings before the L'Uffico di Procura Antidoping (Office of the Antidoping Prosecutor) of CONI this coming week. The hearings will be held at noon on December 18 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, to consider the positive doping control from the Olympics.

  • Astana appoint Lapage as directeur sportif

    Lorenzo Lapage (right) has joined Astana. He has worked in the past with teams including US Postal Service and Discovery Channel
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 11:26 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Former USPS and Discovery DS returns to ProTour with Astana

    Lorenzo Lapage is the newest and final Directeur Sportif to be appointed to the 2010 Astana outfit, the Kazakh ProTour team has announced. The 43 year-old is a former professional with extensive management experience with US-based teams.

    The Belgian rode professionally from 1987 to 2002, both on the road and the track, including Six-Day races. After his retirement from riding, he became a Directeur Sportif by US Postal Service and Discovery Channel. Most recently he has worked with Rock Racing Team.

    "I am a very happy man that I am finally back in a ProTour team,” he said, according to the Belgian newspaper Het Niuewsblad. “Rock Racing, along with Rudy Pevenage, was a fun adventure, but that's something else. I am not in an unfamiliar world right now because I know many people from my time at Discovery Channel."

    Lapage signed a one-year contract with the team at its training camp in Pisa, Italy. “Lapage is a strong asset,” said team manager Yvon Sanquer. “My collection of sports directors is now full with five.”

  • Pereiro returns to Tour Down Under with Astana

    Alberto Contador, Alexander Vinokourov and Oscar Pereiro at the Astana training camp.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 11:43 GMT
    Gregor Brown

    Former Tour de France winner prepares for season with Contador

    Spain's Oscar Pereiro will form part of Astana's line-up at the Tour Down Under next month. Speaking at the team's training camp in Pisa, Italy, Pereiro said that he would return to racing early in 2010 after a difficult year.

    "I raced at the Tour Down Under this year and the number of people watching the race really impressed me. It's incredible, especially the opening criterium," said Pereiro, 32.

    The 2006 Tour de France winner has not raced since abandoning the Tour this year due to exhaustion. He said an early start to the season would be important in order to allow him build his form before helping teammate Alberto Contador at the Tour.

    "The last years few years have been hard for me, I worked really hard to return after the crash at the 2008 Tour," continued Pereiro. "I was too tired at this year's Tour, in both my mind and my body. I didn’t like cycling at that point. But after three months at home I started to think, 'Cycling is my life' and I didn’t want to leave the sport by abandoning the Tour."

    Astana announced Tuesday that Pereiro would join the team. He leaves Caisse d'Epargne after four years and the Tour de France win, his last win. Before Astana and Pereiro finalised the contract, Pereiro considered retirement and talked about becoming an actor. He has postponed his decision on retirement, but still considers acting as a possible career in the future.

    "When I’m on the reality shows all the people tell me that I am talented and I do well. I need at least one more year before I decide what I’ll do after I stop racing."

    Pereiro leaves the Astana training camp Wednesday. While at the training camp he met all his 2010 teammates, and received his new clothing and Specialized bicycle.


  • Wilson secures European return with Garmin-Transitions

    Matt Wilson (Team Type 1)
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 12:01 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Australian believed he could fight back after Unibet debacle

    Australia’s Matthew Wilson has secured a one year contract to ride for Jonathan Vaughters’ Garmin-Transitions squad in 2010. The 32-year-old has been recruited as a domestique for the team’s Spring Classics hopefuls and to work for key sprinter Tyler Farrar.

    “It’s been a long couple of months with lots of back and forth but it’s finally worked out alright,” said Wilson. “We’ve had a talk about my program and what my role within the team will be. They’re bringing me predominately for the classics to support the other guys and to work with Tyler for the sprint stages.

    “Until we sort out what’s going on whether I lead him out or working for him in the stages somehow, but I worked for years with Baden Cooke there and sort of know the job, so exactly how my role fits in at the finishes I’m not quite sure yet,” he added.

    Wilson hopes the ride with Garmin-Transitions will see him return to a Grand Tour’s stages for the first time since the 2005 Giro d’Italia. Despite the Grand Tour drought, Wilson says he’s not only a stronger rider now than he was while riding for Française des Jeux back then, but is also hungrier.

    “More than ever,” he said. “One thing going to America for a couple of years will do for you is bring on a bit of desire. It’s either going to make you or break you as far as your motivation goes.”

    Wilson has spent the past two seasons riding for North American squad Team Type 1. He was thrown a lifeline by the outfit in late 2007 as Wilson’s career looked set to be destroyed when his squad became a pawn in the political battle between cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), and the trio of Grand Tour organisers.

    “After what happened at Unibet I was scratching around for a contract even in December and I thought I was...

  • Contador and Vinokourov present new Astana kit

    United: Astana's captains, Contador and Vinokourov in Pisa, Italy
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 12:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana present a united front as first training camp wraps up in Italy

    Astana's Alberto Contador and Alexander Vinokourov have presented a united front as they unveiled their team jersey for the 2010 season in Pisa, Italy.

    The team's sky blue theme will continue, though it has abandoned the navy blue of this season for more yellow - a design that reflects the Kazakh national colours. The new jersey also incorporates the logos of new sponsors Samruk Kazyna and bicycle supplier Specialized.

    Significantly, both Contador and Vinokourov were on hand to display the new uniform. The Kazakh rider this week pledged his support to the Spaniard's attempt to win a third Tour de France, while Contador himself expressed his confidence that he would be ready to defend the second Tour title he claimed in July.

    Astana's training camp, conducted last week in Pisa, Italy, has also given the two rider the opportunity to meet and train with a flood of new riders to the team for 2010. Spaniard Oscar Pereiro joined his new teammates after confirming his contract with the team on Wednesday, while former-Lampre riders Paolo Tiralongo and Enrico Gasparotto also took part in the pre-season training.

    The week in Pisa will be followed by a second camp in Spain in January.

  • AMPO signs on as sponsor with Footon-Servetto

    Fuji - Servetto riders
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 13:41 GMT
    Antonio J. Salmerón

    Basque company leaves Contentpolis-AMPO outfit for ProTour squad

    Basque company AMPO has agreed to sponsor ProTour squad Footon-Servetto through the 2010 season. Spanish newspaper Gara reports that AMPO have signed a one-year contract with the team - formerly known as Fuji-Servetto - that includes an option to extend the agreement for a further season.

    The Basque engineering and manufacturing firm had supported Murcia-based Professional Continental squad Contentpolis-AMPO through the 2009 season, but now leave the embattled team to act as a supporting sponsor for Mauro Gianetti and Joxean Fernández Matxin ProTour outfit. AMPO join Cantabria Infinita and Fuji as Footon-Servetto's minor sponsors.

    As part of AMPO's desire to see more Basque riders represented in the Footon line-up, Aitor Pérez Arrieta, 32, has joined Footon-Servetto from Contentpolis-AMPO. While former-Caisse d'Epargne rider Pérez will now return to the ProTour, his fellow Basques and 2009 teammates David Herrero, Mikel Gaztañaga and Joseba Aguirre face an uncertain future.

    The announcement of AMPO's sponsorship deal with Footon is effectively a nail in the coffin of what was the Contentpolis-AMPO squad. After the withdrawal of Contentpolis as a sponsor, the team had hoped to maintain its Professional Continental status with support from the Murcian government and AMPO. However, despite their best efforts Gara reports that the team was left 400,000 Euros short of the funds required to satisfy the International Cycling Union's licence commission.

    Pérez Arrieta has become Footon-Servetto's 23rd rider for the 2010 season. The team, which has undergone a major restructure since the end of this year's season, came together for a 4-day training camp in the Cantabrian village of Hoznayo in northern Spain earlier this month.

  • Rubén Plaza returns to Caisse d'Epargne

    Ruben Plaza (Spain)
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 18:15 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Spaniard to race with Unzué-led squad for third time in career

    Rubén Plaza will return to Caisse d'Epargne for the second time in his career after securing a contract with the team for the 2010 season. Biciciclismo reports that the 29-year-old, who had also been in talks with Astana, will join the Spanish ProTour squad at a training camp in Pamplona this week.

    The current Spanish national road Champion, Plaza was left without a team following the withdrawal of Liberty Seguros from the sport in September after a number of the Portuguese team's riders tested positive for EPO-CERA at the Tour of Portugal.

    Plaza returns to Caisse d'Epargne after one-year stint in 2007. He had been embroiled in the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation while racing with Comunidad Valenciana, but was cleared of wrongdoing by a Spanish court that same year. Despite his acquittal, a shortened 2007 season was followed by two years racing for Portuguese teams, Benfica and Liberty Seguros.

    Although 2010 will mark a return to Caisse d'Epargne, it will in fact be the third time he will have raced under the team's Directeur Sportif Eusebio Unzué. The first three seasons of his nine-year professional career were spent at Unzué's

    A powerful time-triallist, Plaza finished fifth overall at the 2005 Vuelta a España, his only Grand Tour participation. This season, his victory in the Spanish national road race was proceeded by stages wins at the Vuelta a la Region de Murcia, Circuit de Lorraine and the Correios de Portugal.

    Plaza becomes the 27th member of the Caisse d'Epargne roster. He joins Frenchman Christophe Moreau, Italian Marzio Bruseghin, Colombian Mauricio Soler and fellow Spaniard Juan Jose Cobo as the new members of the team.

    Caisse d'Epargne's roster for 2010 so far includes: Andrey Amador, David Arroyo, Rui Costa, Arnaud Coyot, Mathieu Drujon, Imanol Erviti Txente García, Iván Gutiérrez, Arnold Jeannesson, Vasili...

  • Porte survives his first Saxo Bank training camp

    Richie Porte (Jayco National Road Team) is looking forward to racing with the likes of Stuart O'Grady in his new team at Saxo Bank in season 2010.
    Article published:
    December 13, 2009, 20:08 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Grand Tour on the cards for Australian neo-pro

    Saxo Bank recruit and ProTour neo-pro Richie Porte returned to his European base in Italy on Sunday after a fortnight of introduction to his new teammates at the squad's pre-season survival camp.

    Saxo Bank's annual team-building exercise on Fuerteventura, Canary Islands has become one of the team's trademarks, as the riders, managers and support staff come together sans-bikes in the lead-up to the new season. Porte told Cyclingnews on Sunday that although this year's camp had differed to those of previous seasons, it had provided him with an encouraging introduction to his new team.

    "I'm led to believe [the camp] wasn't as hard as in past years and a lot more fun. I mean jet skis, helicopters…it was a fun camp, a nice initiation," he said. "It's a totally stress-free team. It's going to be hard having so much time away from [Australia], but it's the team you want to turn professional with."

    Porte signed a neo-pro contract with Saxo Bank in October after a successful 2009 season in the Italian amateur ranks with Andrea Tafi's Bedogni-Grassi-Natalini-Gr.Praga squad. His two-year deal with Saxo Bank will see him race with the team until the end of 2011.

    Porte's move to Bjarne Riis' squad will see him ride alongside fellow Australians Stuart O'Grady and Baden Cooke, who will also make his Saxo Bank debut next season. Despite the familiar faces on the squad, the camp was the first time Porte had met most of his new teammates.

    "Apart from the Australians, it was the first time I've met them all," he said. "To be honest they're just a really good bunch of guys. There's some big names like Cancellara and the Schleck brothers, but they're just normal guys; they don't treat anybody differently."

    While the emphasis of the camp was on team building, the team also used the time to meet and confirm race schedules for the 2010 season. Porte's will begin competition at Challenge Majorca, from February 8-12, and...