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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, December 6, 2009

Date published:
December 06, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Katusha headed to Spain

    Danilo Napolitano of Team Katusha on the podium after his stage win in the Vuelta a Andalucía
    Article published:
    December 05, 2009, 17:54 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Three riders, including McEwen, to sit out team training camp

    Team Katusha is heading to Calpe, Spain, for a training camp starting December 10 and running until December 21. All but three riders - Robbie McEwen, Laszlo Bodrogi and Evgeni Petrov - are expected to attend.

    The 37-year-old McEwen will likely remain in Australia where he's stepped up his training a little early during this off-season after an injury-plagued 2009 season.  Earlier this week, McEwen told Cyclingnews that he was motivated to excel at the Tour Down Under, Milan San Remo, Gent Wevelgem, the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the World Championships in 2010.

    Bodrogi will also sit out the camp after surgery to remove from his leg hardware installed after a crash in 2008.

    Finally, Petrov is staying close to home as his wife is expecting a child in the next few days.

  • Christiansen leaving Saxo Bank after 10 years

    The Saxo Bank boys wind down after a hectic finale.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 10:41 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Originated survival camps for cycling teams

    Team Saxo Bank is going through its last survival camp organised by Bjorn Christiansen. He announced that after 10 years he is ending his work with the team.

    “I've been with Team Saxo Bank for 10 years and have been incredibly happy and incredibly proud to build the team up from scratch,” he told the Danish broadcaster TV 2 Sport. “We have won the Tour de France and many other great victories, but now it is time that the guys must fend for themselves.”

    Christiansen, 57, is a former Special Forces soldier who specialises in coaching and team building. In addition to the survival camps, he was worked for the team at the Tour de France, helping to resolve internal problems that may arise, driving a team car during time trials, and acting as a bodyguard.

    He will now work with the Danish football club FC Midtjylland.

    Christiansen introduced the idea of a survival camp as training for a cycling team, a concept which many other teams have adopted. This year Saxo Bank is doing their camp on Fuertaventura in the Canary Islands. Earlier survival camps in Scandinavia have often featured snow and cold.

  • Bayern Rundfahrt features more climbs in 2010

    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 11:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Harder for the sprinters, better for the climbers

    The 2010 Bayern Rundfahrt won't be as flat as usual, but it will not be a mountain tour. “At our race the riders make the race hard, not the riders,” said race organiser Ewald Strohmeier as he announced the course for the race next May.

    The race, May 26 to 30, is often used as preparation for the Tour de France by those riders not participating in the Giro d'Italia. Known as a flat race, it has been won by Germans nine of the last ten years. This year's race was won by Milram's Linus Gerdemann.

    It opens and closes this year near Munich, and goes to northern Bavaria in between. Promising a “very difficult” race, Strohmeier said “especially the first three stages are tough. We'll have to see how the sprinters come through. But the climbers can already be happy.”

    The first stage runs from Erding to Viechtach, and features the Category One Sankt Englmar 30 km before the finish. Stage two is 200.5 km from Viechtach to Bayreuth, with two Category Two climbs, the Tännesberg and the Weidenberg. The third stage is the race's queen stage, 175.1 km from Bayreuth to Hersbruck. Here the riders face the Category One Gössweinstein/Hardt and Gräfenberg/Sollenberg, finishing off with the Category Two Happurg/Deckersberg.

    Stage four is a 27.8 km time trial around Berching, which does not feature a ranked climb but is far from flat. The closing stage travels 156.2 km south from Berching to Fürstenfeldbruck, wit the Category Two climb Hitzhofen early in the stage.

  • Valverde and other Caisse d'Epargne riders show support for Contentpolis

    Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was one of the stars of the show.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 11:48 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Mercian riders appeal for further existence of regional team

    Alejandro Valverde and other Caisse d'Epargne riders from the Murcia region of Spain have issued an appeal to save the Contentpolis-Ampo team. The 2010 licence for the Professional Continental, which is based in Mercia and supports Mercian cyclists, is threatened due to lack of financial support.

    Valverde, José Joaquín Rojas, Luis Leon Sanchez and Francisco Pérez issued a joint statement saying, “We express our concern about the situation of the professional team of the Region of Murcia, who last season competed under Ampo Contentpolis the name, which is on the brink of extinction."

    The team did not receive registration for the 2010 season from the International Cycling Union (UCI). Both name sponsors have indicated that they will no longer support the team. The region and city of Murcia have indicated willingness to sponsor the team, but not alone, and with added funds needed.

    The statement from Valverde and other went on: “We ask for support from both public institutions and private companies, to make an effort to keep alive a team that employs many in the region, and also performs commendable work. The disappearance of this team would hurt the dreams of many children who dream of becoming professional cyclists in the future. "

    The riders concluded by noting that the team had positively represented the region in such major races as the Vuelta a Espana this year, and that if it is unable to do so in the future, “it will seriously endanger the future of our sport.”

  • Vincent Jerome in hospital with infection

    Vincent Jerome (BBox Bouygues Telecom) finished the day in 17th.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 12:17 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bbox rider to miss early part of season

    Vincent Jerome will have to miss the first part of the 2010 season. The Bbox Bouygues Telecom rider has been hospitalised with a staphylococcus infection.

    According to L'Equipe, his many crashes this season led to the problem, a skin infection caused by a bacteria. The 25-year-old will have to rest for several weeks and thus will have to start the season late.

    The French rider, who is in his fourth season with the team, rode a full season from the Tour Down Under to the Vuelta a Espana. He did not have any wins on the year, but finished sixth in the Clasica de Almeria and ninth in the Tour de Wallonie.

  • NetApp and Jelly Belly will ride Focus bikes in 2010

    Germany's Christoph Pfingsten leads Poland's Mariusz Gil through an off camber section.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 17:14 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    German bike manufacturer up to supporting four teams in the peloton

    Focus bikes will be represented in the peloton next year by two new teams, the German Continental Team NetApp and the US-based Jelly Belly team.

    The German bike manufacturer already supplies the ProTour Team Milram, and the Continental Team Van Vliet has extended its agreement with the supplier.

    In mountain biking, Focus provides bikes to the Team M.I.G. (Made in Germany) as well as the Italian amateur team Focus Italia.

    "Focus has its origins in cyclo-cross, and we plan to help our riders become World Champions," said Focus brand manager Jörg Arenz, a former German 'cross champion. All eyes are on the 2011 'cross World Championships to be held in St. Wendel, Germany. Focus provides bikes to Christoph Pfingsten, who finished second at the Under 23 World Championships, and Paul Voss, who now rides for Team Milram. Pfingsten will ride for Team Van Vliet in 2010.

    The company is losing two of its track riders, Bruno Risi and Andreas Beikirch, both of whom are retiring at the end of the season.

  • Keisse signs with Quick Step

    Iljo Keisse on a flyer
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 18:07 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Track star secures one-year contract with option for a second year

    Iljo Keisse will race for Team Quick Step in 2010, both on the track and the road. He reached an agreement with the Belgian ProTour team Saturday for the coming year, with an option for 2011.

    Keisse, 27, will continue to focus on track riding up until the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 24-28. After that, he will turn to road racing, and return to the track when the season is over.

    The Belgian rider is now starting "the most important phase of his career. Our goal is to understand how Iljo will be able to perform at an international level on the road," said Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere. "With his speed, he could be of great use to (sprinter Tom) Boonen and, why not play his own cards during sprints in the minor races."

    Keisse called the signing "a dream come true". He might possibly ride in a few road races before the Worlds in Copenhagen. The schedule will be worked out when he returns from the World Cup events in Colombia, December 10-12.

    He rode for Topsport Vlaanderen from 2004 to 2008. The Belgian Professional Continental team fired him in January after he tested positive for two substances at the 2008 Gent Six Day race. He was recently cleared of those charges.

    Keisse is a Six- Day specialist, who consistently brings in top placings in such events. He most recently finished second with partner Roger Kluge at the Gent Six Day race.

  • Leon Van Bon prolongs successful career

    Leon Van Bon is now with the Trek Marco Polo team, enjoying other parts of the world
    Article published:
    December 06, 2009, 18:08 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Talented Dutchman has won a pro race every year since 1994

    The legs might not be as strong as they once were, but there's no denying Leon Van Bon's passion for cycling still remains and despite an uncertain future, the 37-year-old is confident of racing next season.

    For the last two years, Van Bon has raced for the Chinese outfit Trek - Marco Polo. Despite the title sponsor pulling out, Van Bon is confident that the team will still be racing in 2010. "We lost our main sponsor, but we had an okay year and have some strong riders. I think we'll be together for next year," he told Cyclingnews.

    Van Bon is currently riding the European track circuit and recently competed in Revolution 26 at Manchester velodrome with Bradley Wiggins and Ben Swift. For Van Bon though, who has won at least one professional race every year since 1994, he's just glad to be able to race on the track after concentrating on the road scene for the majority of his successful professional career.

    Van Bon turned professional in 1994 with Jan Raas's WordPerfect team after claiming a silver medal in the Barcelona Olympics. Before that he'd cut his teeth on the track as a junior, winning several national titles at the Under 17 and Under 19 levels. However Raas's strict management style meant that Van Bon had to give up his love of track racing. "At my hometown, there was a track, and I used to race on both the track and road. Every kid did it but Jan Raas told me I had to give it up. Some riders like Zabel were able to combine track and road but I wasn't. I'm pleased to be back though," he said with a grin, clearly still enjoying the thrill of racing in front of a packed house in Manchester.

    With two year's experience of racing in Asia, Van Bon doesn't miss the road scene in Europe, and although he's had several offers to return and race in Belgium and Holland, he's happy to put that period in his life behind him. "I've done racing in Europe and I don't miss it. I had offers to come back but I said 'no thanks'....