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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, December 26, 2010

Date published:
December 26, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Stybar back to racing on Monday

    Zdenek Stybar (Telenet - Fidea)
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 16:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Ready to return after long pause with knee problems

    Zdenek Stybar will return to the cyclo-cross circuit on Monday. The reigning World champion will ride the Superprestige race in Diegem, his first race in several weeks after recovering from a knee injury.

    Stybar spend the last few days with family in the Czech Republic, where he trained on Friday. “The good feelings are returning. Moreover, it was very nice and cozy with my parents and family,” he told Sporza.

    He is even looking forward to the winter wonderland that Belgium will offer. “I am very pleased that Belgium has a lot of snow.”

    Stybar doesn't know how well he will do on Monday. “I don't really know if I'm ready. But the important thing is that I can ride 'cross again.

    "I have absolutely no idea about my capabilities and my physical preparedness. Racing is always different from training. Performance is secondary. I will start Monday in Diegem without ambition, without stress, but with much pleasure."

    "It's good to be back," Stybar said. “Now I officially have the misery behind me, and I look forward. I feel a huge appetite for the sport over the past few days.. I am happy and relieved. I've really missed my sport."

  • Basso rides 100km on Christmas Day

    Giro champion Ivan Basso (Liquigas - Doimo) competed in Roeselare.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 18:11 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Italian driven by his conscience in 2011

    Ivan Basso clocked up 100km in training on Christmas Day and is ready to cover another 40,000km of racing and training in 2011.

    The Italian stage racer has hinted that he will target both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France next season and reaffirmed his promise never to cheat again.  He made the promise to his coach Aldo Sassi, who recently died of a brain tumor.

    Basso turned 33 on November 26 and has been racing since he was seven. But he told the Italian La Repubblica newspaper just before Christmas that he still feels full of enthusiasm and ready to clock up hours and hours in the saddle.

    "Cycling is my thing, it's my life. Getting out on my bike is never a problem," he said.

    "When I wake up I still think how I can improve as a rider. You understand when you've had enough of racing: For a rider it's when you don’t give it your all in a test or when you ease off the pedals when you're out training. It's if the cold or the wet gets to you. That's a sign but things like that don't happen to me yet. I hope to race until I'm 40. I lost two years for the doping problems and I want to make up for that."

    Giro and Tour likely in 2011

    Basso is proud of his 2010 season is hoping for similar success in 2011, perhaps with a first yellow jersey the biggest goal of all. He won his second Giro d'Italia in May but then suffered with illness at the Tour de France in July this year.

    He is still convinced he can ride and target success in both races in the same season. And that's why he will clock-up so many kilometres on his bike in the next 12 months.

    "Except for the sad death of Aldo (Sassi), who was a father figure and a special friend to me, it's been a happy winter because it came after a great season," Basso said.

    "Winning the Giro was a kind of liberation for me. It closed the door on a long five years. It was a huge win even if it affected the rest of the...

  • Sarah Düster ready for Nederland Bloeit challenge

    Sarah Düster (Cervelo Test Team) finished seventh.
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 20:05 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Ex-Cervelo rider joins Vos

    Sarah Düster will race for Nederland Bloeit at the Tour of Qatar next season after signing from Cervelo TestTeam at the end of this season along with Emilie Aubry, Patricia Schwager.

    Düster will  also ride alongside Marianne Vos next season and is hoping to bring her experience to what is one of the most talented squads in the women’s peloton.

    “I was riding with the same team for five years and I wanted to try something new and that’s why I signed for a new team. They’re a strong team though so it wasn’t just a change just for the sake of it. I know we can get results next year,” Düster told Cyclingnews.

    “I had a great time at Cervelo, I really did, and the set up was so good but it was time to leave. I’d learned a lot but I needed a fresh challenge.”

    While Qatar will act as her debut for the team, Düster is already targeting the Spring and the Classics as her main focal point for the season.

    “For sure the Classics are always nice and also with this team it would be incredible to win one. Of course we will win races with the team and I hope I get some opportunities also to have good results.”

    “Looking at our roster we’re going to be strong for the Classics and they’re another big objective for me. I really like racing Drenthe because the weather is always bad and I like racing over cobbles. The harder the race the better I go.”

    Düster is also aware of how strong the women’s peloton is becoming, and each year the calibre of rider creeps up a notch as more sponsorship money comes into the sport, infrastructures become more stable and riders move from team to team, transferring their skills and experience.

    “Every year, more and more girls are coming through and the women’s peloton is getting stronger each year. You just have to look at our team in order...

  • New climbs in the frame for Vuelta

    The Angliru guarantees epic dramas and great battles
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 22:17 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    2011 Vuelta route could feature two new summits in northern Spain

    With less than three weeks until the unveiling of the 2011 Vuelta a España on January 12, there are reports that race organisers Unipublic are considering the inclusion of two new climbs in the north of the country during the race's crucial final week. That week is also almost certain to feature the return of the fearsome Angliru, which last appeared on the race route in 2008, when Alberto Contador took the title.

    According to reports in several papers including El Comercio Digital, Unipublic have been looking very closely at the recently surfaced Farrapona climb in Asturias. The 1708m summit is now the highest paved pass in that region. It climbs for 18.7km at an average of 5.7 percent and has ramps of up to 12 percent. Reports suggest that Unipublic considered using the climb in this year's race but eventually opted for the Cotobello.

    Meanwhile, specialist cycling publication Meta2Mil has been pushing the claims of the Puerto de Ancares, which lies on the border between the provinces of León and Lugo and has never featured in the Vuelta despite being paved as far back as 1978. There are four routes to the summit of the 1670m pass, of which by far the toughest is the road via Pan do Zarco.

    This climbs 1110m in height in only 12km, giving an eye-watering average gradient of 9.25 percent. There are numerous ramps of between 12 and 15 percent, with some on the initial third reaching up to 20 percent. This could potentially put the Ancares in the same range of difficulty as the Angliru.

    The 2011 Vuelta, which should once again suit the specialist climbers, is likely to feature the Sierra Nevada and Pandera summits in Andalucia, as well as the return of some of the Basque Country's most renowned passes such as the Urkiola and Arrate.

  • Sprinters pack Tour Down Under rosters

    André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) wins stage 2 of the Eneco Tour
    Article published:
    December 25, 2010, 23:40 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    First showdown of the new season will be in Adelaide

    Fourteen teams have so-far announced their line-ups for the Tour Down Under and the early season Australian race looks set to have its strongest field ever when the action begins on January 16 with the Cancer Council Classic warm-up criterium.

    The Tour Down Under is the first World Tour race of season and so the 18 major ProTeams will all be in Adelaide. It will almost certainly be Lance Armstrong's last race outside of the USA, and the Texan will be joined by Robbie McEwen, after he moved to the US team following the demise of Pegasus Sports.

    The Tour Down Under is always an intense battle between the sprinters and things will be faster and more furious than ever before.

    2010 overall winner and multiple stage winner Andrei Greipel wears number one but will be racing in a new jersey and for a new team after his move from HTC to Omega Pharma. He has dominated the sprints since 2008 but will face McEwen, a Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo), Allan Davis (Astana), Francesco Chicchi (Quick Step), Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank). The battle between Greipel and Cavendish will be emotionally charged and perhaps tops the bill. But whoever comes out on top will have the early bragging right as faster sprinter in the sport.

    Other big names so far included in the seven-rider teams include Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad), Gerald Ciolek (Quick Step) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil).

    Team Sky has selected new signing Michael Rogers plus Matt Hayman, Simon Gerrans and Geraint Thomas, plus sprinters Greg Henderson, Christopher Sutton and Ben Swift.

    Local hero Stuart O'Grady will lead the new Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project squad, while Richie Porte heads the Saxo Bank team with fellow Australians Baden Cooke and David Tanner. Under 23 world champion Michael Matthews will make his big-time professional debut and go shoulder to shoulder...

  • Movistar makes its debut at Tour Down Under

    Team Movistar grew out of the former Caisse d'Epargne team
    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 1:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four more teams confirmed for opening ProTour event

    The team formerly known as Caisse d'Epargne lost former Tour Down Under winner Luis Leon Sanchez to Rabobank and will now focus its efforts on gritty sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas, who has previously tasted success at the event in the best young rider category.

    Led by team manager Jose Luis Arrietta, who rode the Tour Down Under on many occasions during his professional career, Movistar's team for the opening round of the ProTour will include Rojas, plus Angel Madrazo, Jose Vicente Garcia, Jose Ivan Gutierrez, Luis Pasamontes, Francisco Ventoso and David Lopez.

    Meanwhile, another four more teams have confirmed their lineups for the race, including Katusha, Lampre-ISD, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Vacansoleil DCM.

    The four teams are as follows:

    Katusha: Denis Galimzyanov, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Eduard Vorganov, Juan Horrach, Sergei Ivanov, Nikolay Trusov, Stijn Vanderbergh
    Manager: Dmitriy Konychev

    Lampre-ISD: Alfredo Balloni, Vitaliy Buts, Alessandro Spezialetti, Aitor Perez Arrieta, Matteo Bono, Daniele Righi, Manuele Mori
    Manager: Bogdan Bondariew

    Euskaltel-Euskadi: Iñaki Isasi, Miguel Minguez, Ruben Perez, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Iván Velasco, Daniel Sesma
    Manager: Josu Larrazabal

    Vacansoleil DCM: Maxim Belkov, Sergey Lagutin, Mirko Servaggi, Thomas de Gendt, Romain Feillu, Joost van Leijen, Alberto Ongarato
    Manager: Michel Cornelisse

  • Tech news: Is electronic Shimano Ultegra on the horizon?

    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 1:41 GMT
    Matt Pacocha,

    Shimano isn't denying rumours about possible groupset addition

    Shimano launched its electronic Dura-Ace road groupset, dubbed Di2 (Digital Integrated Intelligence), last year to acclaim from racers, riders and the press alike. Just about the only issue anyone had with it was the price – over $3,000.

    Rumors now suggest that a cheaper electric groupset based on Shimano's second-tier road group, Ultegra, may be on the horizon for 2012.

    The French wheel building blog Roues Artisanales published a story earlier this month claiming confirmation of a new group that "will probably be called Di2 Ultegra 6770 and will certainly make electronic [shifting] more affordable".

    When BikeRadar contacted Shimano North America for comment, PR manager Devin Walton said he could not confirm the rumours – but he didn't categorically deny them either. "What they're tweeting [writing] about is certainly nothing that they've heard from Shimano or any Shimano employee," he said. "So for now, it's rumour."

    It seems obvious that Shimano would want to capitalise on the accolades and rave reviews given to its Di2 group by bringing its price down and making it available to a wider ridership - this Walton didn't deny. But timing is everything and he stressed that if an electric Ultegra group is in the works, it's much too early to talk about it.

    Walton gave 2008's Dura-Ace carbon crank as an example. "That ended up coming out a year after we announced it," he said "And then at that point, even though we ended up taking some pre-orders, we ultimately decided that the value was just silly. When you compared it to the aluminum crank it just didn't make sense, so we never went into production."

    While no details are known, we imagine that when an electric Ultegra group is unveiled it will likely be a supplemental transmission supported by the current Ultegra 6700 brakes, crank, cassette and wheels, in the same way the current Di2 is supported by Dura-Ace 7900 components.

    Cyclingnews' technical...

  • Van Garderen targeting California success

    Tejay Van Garderen (Team HTC - Columbia) is immediately supported after crossing the line atop Alpe d'Huez.
    Article published:
    December 26, 2010, 3:18 GMT
    Daniel Friebe

    HTC-Highroad prodigy opts for US race over Giro d'Italia

    Arguably the revelation of the 2010 stage-race season, HTC-Highroad starlet Tejay Van Garderen is aiming to score his team’s second straight victory at the Amgen Tour of California in 2011 before targeting a Tour de France debut two months later.

    With defending Tour of California champion Michael Rogers having departed for Team Sky, the HTC-Highroad management have decided to railroad the 22-year-old Van Garderen towards the American one-week race rather than the Giro d’Italia.

    The team’s owner, Bob Stapleton, recently predicted that Van Garderen could vie for top honours in California in only his second year as a pro.

    Curiously, since the race’s inception in 2006, no rider under the age of 30 has taken the overall title in the Golden State.

    "My view is that it's entirely realistic for Tejay to target the podium and be a major factor in the race," Stapleton told Cyclingnews. "He's got the right qualities and this race lines up really well with his abilities. In terms of his rivals, we'll have to see who shows up. Levi Leipheimer and Cadel Evans, if he rides, could both be major contenders."

    Van Garderen had expressed an interest in riding what looks set to be a brutal Giro d'Italia but will now focus on California before competing for a Tour berth in July. With Mark Cavendish's sprint train sure to account for at least half of the US outfit's nine-man Tour lineup, and Peter Velits and Tony Martin also among Stapleton's bankers, Van Garderen knows that he faces a tough battle to make the cut.

    Eleventh overall in the Vuelta a Espana heading into the final week last September, Van Garderen endured two tough days before finishing his maiden grand tour in 35th position. "I came out of it pretty positive because the legs started to come back in the last few days," he told Cyclingnews recently. "Hopefully next year if you take out those two bad days and turn them into consistency, maybe I...