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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 3, 2010

Date published:
January 03, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Michael Rogers targets Australian road championship

    Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC), the reigning Australian time trial champion, will not defend his title at the upcoming national championships in order to focus on the road race title.
    Article published:
    January 02, 2010, 23:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Reigning national time trial champion, thrice world champion to skip Aussie time trial

    Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) says he has 'unfinished business' with the Australian national road race, an event in which he took the silver medal last year. "Ten years ago people might have said 'what jersey is that?' when they saw the Australian national champion, but not any more," said Rogers. "It's a very prestigious jersey to wear, and everyone knows that. Last year in the race there was a bit of an unexpected sprint, and I missed out, so there's definitely some sort of 'unfinished business'."

    Rogers says he has had his best off-season ever, reaching all his training targets throughout the November and December period. "I did about 100 days racing in 2009, both the Giro and the Tour, so I stopped straight after the World Championships, had a good long rest, and then got into training for 2010.

    "I've worked really well. I'm three kilos lighter than I was this time last year, and I've built up some very good endurance. Hopefully it will be a hard race, because that will suit me better."

    Rogers is the defending Australian time trial champion, but this year the 30-year-old will be focusing only on the 163-kilometre road race on January 10th. His Columbia-HTC teammates Leigh Howard and Matt Goss will also be taking part. "It's a very tough course, not overly long but long enough, and although there's just the one climb, we do it sixteen times and it's usually very hot, too. It'll be a race of attrition.

    "For the Australian amateurs the nationals is their last event of the season and they're all in great shape, so it's very hard to control. And of course, if they beat the professionals they get a lot of bragging rights! But with the team we've got there, we've certainly got the force and talent to achieve a good result."

  • Andy Schleck voted Luxembourger of the year

    Fränk Schleck leads brother Andy, r, at the Tour de France
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 9:48 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Brother Fränk marries on New Year's Eve

    It was a big weekend for the Schleck brothers, as Andy was named Luxembourger of the year and older brother Fränk got married.

    Andy Schleck, 24, won the vote conducted by broadcaster RTL, with 22.5 percent. Second was Thierry van Werveke, a popular actor who passed away in 2009 from cancer at the age of 50, and third was the country's leader, Premier Jean-Claude Juncker. Fränk Schleck was fourth.

    The younger Schleck finished second overall in the Tour de France, as well as winning Liège-Bastogne-Liègeiege-Bastogne-Liege and his national road championship.

    Fränk Schleck married his girlfriend in a civil ceremony on New Year's eve. The couple had gotten engaged at the Amstel Curacao race in November. The church wedding is planned for August.

  • Allan Davis will defend Tour Down Under title

    Australia's Allan Davis (Quick Step).
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 12:19 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Australian sprinter confirms start in South Australia, Astana deal could be close

    Reigning Tour Down Under champion Allan Davis has confirmed that he will continue his unbroken record of appearances at the race, raising further speculation that he is close to signing with Astana for 2010.

    Davis, 29, left Belgian squad Quick Step last month and has since been linked with a move to the Kazakh ProTour team. The latter has yet to announce its full roster for the race, however comments made by Davis to Australian media sources on Saturday are an indication that an official announcement could be made soon.

    "I'll be [at the Tour Down Under]," Davis told Australian website "That's for certain; I've just got to get some legal advice before I can make the official announcement."

    Davis' confirmation of his participation in the Tour Down Under will see him race the event for a record twelfth time. He is the only rider to have competed in each edition of the race since its inaugural edition in 1999.

    For the first time, however, Davis will return to Adelaide as the defending champion in the event. A winner of six Tour Down Under stages throughout his career, Davis claimed the overall title at the 2009 Tour, 25 seconds ahead of compatriot Stuart O'Grady.

    If Davis does confirm his signing with Astana, he will be joined in Adelaide by former Tour de France champion Oscar Pereiro. The Spaniard confirmed last month that he will return to the race, where he finished 27th last year, 59 seconds behind the winner, Davis.

    The 2010 Tour Down Under begins in the town of Clare, South Australia, on January 19 and concludes in Adelaide on January 24. The six-stage race will be preceded on January 17 by the Cancer Council Helpline Classic circuit race in Adelaide.

  • Brown to rethink Bay Series tactics

    Series leader Graeme Brown (Urban) corners into the home straight in the final stages of day two.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 12:53 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    McEwen's European advice correct, but nothing new says Brown

    Graeme Brown believes his Urban Hotels squad will need to rethink its tactics if he is to maintain his Jayco Bay Cycling Classic lead through the remaining two races of the event. While Brown still leads the series a victory by Mazda’s Greg Henderson on today’s race puts him and teammate Robbie McEwen on 14 points overall, just five behind Brown.

    "Today I rode more on form than anything else, I didn’t really think about it too much," said Brown. "I probably had too-good-a-legs for my head. I’m definitely going to have to revisit mine and the team’s tactics for tomorrow because I think Robbie’s team is going to cause a few problems for sure."

    "I want to talk to the team a bit today, after this race," said Brown. "We’re going to have to think about it some more, I don’t want to give out too many details, but I’ll be happy if it comes to a sprint. I think I’m definitely sprinting better than anyone else, regardless of the situation. We’ll have another chat and make a game plan for tomorrow, it’s going to be another tough day, especially after today as everyone’s legs will be sore and they’ll be kicking out of corners 100-odd times tomorrow."

    While Brown admitted both he and the team made mistakes on the difficult 1.8 kilometre circuit today, he was delighted with the support his teammates provided. Brown will have to defend his lead over Chris Sutton (Skilled/Lowe Farms), on 17 points, Matthew Goss (Team Degani Cycling Café) on 14 and the Mazda duo on the hot dog and rectangular criterium courses that remain.

    "Unreal. The Urban Hotels guys were unreal again," said Brown. "They were in almost every move. We made a few mistakes today and that probably cost us the race - I think I always had the legs to win today - but we’re not a ProTour team."

    McEwen says Brown needs to step-up in Europe

    Brown admitted...

  • Colnago-CSF Inox get decked out for 2010

    Domenico Pozzivivo and Mattia Gavazzi outside the Colnago factory in Italy
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 14:12 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Pozzovivo and Gavazzi to spearhead Italian team's season

    Colnago-CSF Inox riders Domenico Pozzovivo and Mattia Gavazzi have shown off the Professional Continental team's new strip during a visit to the factory of team sponsor, Colnago, in Italy.

    In 2009 Pozzovivo was the most successful member of the squad, formerly known as CSF Group-Navigare, with top-ten overall finishes at the Giro del Trentino, Tour de Luxembourg, Tour of Slovakia, Brixia Tour and Coppa Sabatini. The 27-year-old also claimed a stage victory at the Settimana Lombarda.

    Gavazzi, 26, has joined the team after a successful season with Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni - Androni Giocattoli in 2009.

    Like his new teammate, Gavazzi also claimed a stage victory at the Settimana Lombarda, one of eleven victories throughout the year. The Italian sprinter began last season with victory on the opening stage of the Tour San Luis in Argentina, before multiple stage wins at the Tour de Langkawi, Vuelta a Venezuela and Brixia Tour.

    The squad is shaping up to be an all-Italian outfit in 2010, with Argentinean riders Mauro Richeze and Guillermo Bongiorno departing the squad at the end of 2009.

  • Garmin-Transitions signs Murilo Fischer

    Murilo Fischer (Liquigas) wins the 2009 Giro della Romagna.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 16:32 GMT
    Daniel Benson and Richard Tyler

    Brazilian to strengthen Farrar's lead-out train

    Garmin-Transitions confirmed on Sunday the signing of Brazilian sprinter Murilo Fischer. The move by the 30-year-old ends speculation about his future and ensures that the now former-Liquigas rider will continue his career in the ProTour.

    Last week, Fischer denied a report that he had signed with Italian Professional Continental squad Aqua & Sapone for the coming season and had indicated that a return to his native Brazil could have been a possibility. However, Garmin principal Jonathan Vaughters today confirmed to Cyclingnews that Fischer will remain a presence in the European peloton and will play a key role in the team's sprint objectives.

    "He's experienced and looking forward to helping Tyler win more races," said Vaughters. "He strengthens our already re-inforced lead-out train. With Robbie Hunter, Julian Dean and now Murilo, our final-kilometre team for this year is looking pretty mean."

    Garmin's recruitment of Fischer demonstrates the off-season effort the team has made to improve Tyler Farrar's chances of success in 2010. The 25-year-old sprinter was the most prolific member of the squad last season, taking 11 of the team's 29 victories.

    In addition to the support Fischer will provide his new teammate on the US-based squad, Vaughters was quick to indicate that the Brazilan will have the opportunity to add to his own palmares. "Murilo can win on his own, as well, so let's not underestimate that," said Vaughters.

    Fischer is no stranger to the pointy end of sprint finishes. His breakthrough season, with Naturino - Sapore di Mare in 2005, saw him take eight victories, including wins at Memorial Cimurri and Giro del Piemonte. Although unable to match the exploits of that season in his past three years at Liquigas, he has maintained his reputation as a competitive sprinter. His most recent victory came at the Giro della Romagna in September last year

    Fischer becomes the 28th member of the...

  • Erler to return to pro peloton with Tabriz

    Hossein Jahabanian (Tabriz) pushes the pace.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2010, 17:39 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    German to be reunited with Mizbani at Iranian squad

    Germany's Tobias Erler will return to professional cycling in 2010 with Iranian squad, Tabriz Petrochemicals. The 30-year-old had spent the 2009 season away from professional competition as he completed a teaching degree, but will now return to the Continental level of the sport.

    Erler's connection to Tabriz stems from his first season as a professional with the Giant Asia Racing Team. "When I went to Giant in 2006, Ghader Mizbani was my teammate there," Erler told Radsport News. "I never broke off contact with him and our then-Giant masseur. They'd previously asked me what I was doing, but a move back to their team [didn't arise until now]."

    A winner of the Tour of Korea in his debut season, Erler then moved to German Continental team 3C Gruppe – Lamonta. He spent two seasons with the team before he took time off to further his professional qualifications last year.

    Erler will meet his new teammates in early February when the squad comes together in Iran for a training camp. Despite tensions between the government of the middle-eastern nation and the broader international community, it is an experience Erler is looking forward to.

    "I have no fear of traveling in Iran, but I'm very curious to learn about people and their country," he said. "Also, I'm not the first member of the German cycling community to travel there. Wolfram Lindner and Otto Altweg have already been working there as coaches."

    Erler admitted that his race programme for a return to professional cycling is still to be finalized, but he indicated that a starts at the Tour de Langkawi and Tours of Taiwan and Thailand are being considered.

    The 2010 roster for Tabriz is: Erler, Kazakh Andrey Mizourov, and Iranian riders Mizbani, Hossein Askari, Abolfazl Gilanipoor, Hossein Jahabanian, Ahad Kazemi, Samad Poor Seiedi and Mahdi Sohrabi.