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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, January 9, 2011

Date published:
January 09, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth squad hits the slopes in Winter Park

    Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth Team snowshoe up Sheep Mountain
    Article published:
    January 08, 2011, 21:10 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Teammates get to know each other while playing in the snow

    Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth brought in the New Year with an unconventional meet-and-greet held on January 4-8 at the Snow Mountain Ranch located on the outskirts of Winter Park, Colorado. The sub-zero winter wonderland offered the 15-man squad a unique off-bike experience with an array of winter activities that included snowboarding, snowshoeing and classic cross country skiing.

    "I liked the winter camp because it was kind of a free for all of winter activities and we were getting to know each other," said Mike Friedman. "We stayed in two cabins and each day did some team snowshoeing and snowboarding. It was also nice because we had some free time to do whatever activity we wanted and structure your own day."

    "I learned how to snowboard yesterday," he added. "I've never snowboarded before in my life, ever, and I was hooked on it. I was able to get up and it was powder snow. I was able to do it. I'm pretty sore though and will probably need a couple days to recover. Snowshoeing was fun and is similar to cycling, same motion when you're going up hill, kind of."

    Although the Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth squad consists primarily of riders from cold climate regions of the US and Canada, Friedman wasn't the only rider to take to jump into knee deep snow to learn a new kind type of cross training.

    Mike Creed is from nearby Colorado Springs but had never skied, snowboarded or snowshoed prior to the camp. Likewise, California native Daniel Holloway started his athletic career as a speed skater but says he never saw the outside of an ice rink during the winter months. "I was a speed skater but I'm not truly a winter sport person," Holloway said. "You see snow when you fly into where ever you are competing but then you just go into the rink to skate. This kind of camp was fun, I liked it."

    "No bikes here at all, just fun," he said. "It was nice for the most part because we didn't have to worry about riding at all. It...

  • Dyball hoping doors will open in 2011

    Noted as a hill climber, Ben Dyball used these skills to perfection on the last climb to break free, and go onto win the mens' under 23 title.
    Article published:
    January 08, 2011, 21:44 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Australian U23 champion set for Italian adventure

    Ben Dyball's victory in the Australian U23 road race championships is a major coup for the 21-year-old. A promising climber, the quiet young man is still trying to come to terms with his sensational victory.

    "I still can't believe that I won, this is my biggest win ever," Dyball said. "This was my ultimate goal over the last three months. I have done a lot of work in the gym building my strength as well as performing shorter, high intensity efforts on the bike."

    Dyball opted to leave Virgin Blue-RBS Morgans to ride for Italian amateur team Bibanese in 2011, thanks to the help of Dominic Caravello, and he is looking forward to the challenge, particularly now that he has the green and gold jersey.

    Last season, Dyball was successful in claiming some big scalps, most notably the overall win in the Tour of Canberra. His win was set up on stage one where he burst out of the peloton and put nearly a minute into his rivals on a final climb over 10km, averaging 6% and peaking at 14%. That set him up to finish third in the Australian National Road Series. It was a hard tour for Dyball with his coach, Michael Chapman passing away before the Tour.

    Dyball then went over to Switzerland and he didn't disappoint, claiming two victories in that two month European stint. His first was Rundstreckenrennen Oberehrendingen, a one-day race. He then enjoyed success in Giubiasco - Carena, a 12km race, uphill with an average gradient of 7-8%.

    On his return to Australia, he won two more races; the Stratford - Dargo and stage 3 in the Tour of Bright.

    Dyball first got introduced into cycling when he was 10 years of age and has never looked back.

    "My dad started riding mountain bikes with my uncles for fun, then I started riding. When I was 12, I started racing and have never looked back," Dyball said.

    Dyball will head to Europe in late March to start with his new Italian team and will be racing predominantly in Italy. He also...

  • Alexis Rhodes: a tale of determination

    Australian road race Champion, 2011 - Alexis Rhodes (Garmin-Cervelo)
    Article published:
    January 08, 2011, 22:15 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Australian contemplated retirement in 2010.

    Alexis Rhodes’ victory in the elite women's road race at Buninyong was marked by a determination that will live long in the memory of all who witnessed it.

    It's been a rollercoaster five years for the 26-year-old who in 2005 was in intensive care after suffering severe injuries in a training accident that involved a car and claimed the life of her friend and team-mate Amy Gillett. She broke several bones in her back and suffered chest injuries; it was unclear whether or not she would live, let alone race again.

    "I'm ecstatic and really, really excited," Rhodes said after her victory.

    In 2010, she seemed set to win the time trial national title but she threw her bike and was fined $100 when two untimely punctures put an end to her dream. Fast forward 12 months and she now has the green-and-gold jersey she desired, after a gruelling race.

    Yet as recently as just two months ago, Rhodes was considering retirement.

    "The Commonwealth Games I was happy with - coming fourth in the time trial. I was disappointed with the Worlds, riding just inside the top 20 in the time trial and I was hoping to go better than that," said Rhodes. "I just don't like riding around half-arsed and running top 20. It's a hard sport and to not be competitive is not worth it.

    "I'm not 'the poor girl who was injured'. It wasn't so much the sympathy but I don't like making up the numbers; to be known as 'the poor girl who got hit by a car', is not what I wanted to be," Rhodes continued.

    "I also didn't have a team for the 2011 season and I didn't want to go overseas and ride in a small team.

    "I wanted to be winning races," she said, adding that Saturday's result is a career best. "To win a national road championship and then wear the jersey in Europe, it's something you dream about."

    Her luck changed in November when Garmin-Cervélo offered her a contract for two years thanks to the help of some close friends.

  • Spanish federation asks UCI and WADA to co-operate on Contador ruling

    Alberto Contador and Richie Porte ride together
    Article published:
    January 09, 2011, 11:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Majority vote will determine sanction or not

    The Spanish cycling federation has taken the unprecedented step of asking the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency to join in their decision regarding the doping charges against Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

    According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the federation's Competition Committee sent the UCI and WADA documents and scientific studies from Contador's defence several days ago. The documentation outlines why the 50 pg. of Clenbuterol for which he tested positive last July came from his eating contaminated meat.

    "The UCI and WADA took weeks to make the decision that we would be the ones to rule on the Contador case, so we thought they should help us make the ruling,” an anonymous source “close to the federation” told the Spanish newspaper.

    “If, after studying the documents submitted by Contador's defence, the UCI and WADA decide that he must be punished, then he will be punished. If they decide otherwise, then not,” the source continued.

    The normal routine is for the national federation to issue a decision, and if the UCI disagrees with it, to appeal it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, a time-consuming process. The UCI has already indicated that it would go to the CAS if it does not approve of the Spanish ruling.

    The Spanish proposal could speed things up. “We can shorten the procedure, because if the UCI and WADA have input into our decision and agree with it, then they will not resort to the CAS,” the source said.

    Another advantage would be that it would eliminate the claims of nationalism, that the federation was trying to protect one of its one. “This way they cannot say that the ruling was based on patriotism.”

    The WADA has not yet responded to the Spanish federation, but the UCI has indicated that will respond by January 23 or 24.

  • Bobridge wins one of the highlights of his career

    I'll sign this one but i wouldn't mind taking one of these home in a few hours: Jack Bobridge (Garmin Cervelo) signs a national jersey prior to the start in Buninyong.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2011, 11:30 GMT
    Chris Graetz

    Youngster shows his true talent.

    Jack Bobridge's impressive victory in the elite national road race championships on Sunday is one of the highlights of his career. The 21-year-old is a world and national champion on the track, as well as a world and national champion on the road and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

    "This win rates pretty high in those list of achievements," Bobridge said. "Anyone would say they would love to be an Australian road champion and to get one is absolutely fantastic and I'm over the moon. Just to be able to wear the colours in the pro peloton is fantastic," he added.

    Last year Bobridge claimed his first road victory, winning stage five in the Eneco Tour of the Benelux after attacking his breakaway companions and soloing to the line in the final two kilometres. His national win is only going to elevate his status as a road race rider.

    Bobridge's next assignment is the time trial on Tuesday, in which he is one of the favourites. He will then go to the Tour Down Under, where he will be helping team-mate Tyler Farrar.

    "I will be looking after Tyler in the Tour Down Under. He is going well at the moment. The first couple of days will be raced around him and we'll see what happens from there, if he's in a good position for the overall or not."

    Bobridge believes being a track rider helped him win the national championships.

    "I think a lot of the pure roadies don't go in as well as us trackies," explained Bobridge. "We have the World Championships in March so we have to be going pretty well already and I think that helps us."

    "We have the World Cup in December which doesn't give us much of a rest, but it keeps our legs ticking over, which definitely helps us and keeps us sharper this time of the season. After I finish track racing in 2012, we'll see what happens."

    Bobridge has also highlighted his major objective in 2011.

    "The track world championships in Holland is very important. After that I will...

  • Scotland to bid for 2017 Tour de France start

    The Palais des Congress in Paris awaits the press and riders for the 2011 Tour de France route presentation.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2011, 12:24 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Glasgow or Edinburgh to host prologue

    Scotland is set to bid to host the start of the 2017 Tour de France. After Dublin in 1998, London in 2007 and Corsica in 2013, it would mark the fourth time that the race had begun outside of mainland Europe.

    Either Glasgow or Edinburgh would be the scene of a city-centre prologue, before a road stage that may potentially link the two cities. The chief executive of EventScotland, Paul Bush, explained that Scotland’s historical ties with France make it an ideal Tour host.

    "We think the event is a natural fit for Scotland with the history of the Auld Alliance and we've already had three meetings with the race organisers about a possible bid,” Bush told the Scotsman.

    "The event would have a huge impact if it was held here. The Tour would probably be based in the host city for up to a week before the first stage started and the impact on the economy would be huge."

    The logistics of bringing the race from Scotland back to France have not yet been detailed, although it is thought that chartered trains may be employed. In 1998, the Tour convoy travelled by ferry from Cork to Roscoff overnight after the 2nd stage, while a late start to the 3rd stage to Lorient eliminated the need for the insertion of an early rest day.

    However, the 2010 Giro d’Italia, which began in Amsterdam, had a rest day just four days in to allow the convoy travel to Italy.

    It is understood that the Scottish Government will provide most of the £5 million required to host the event, which could yield as much as £100 million to the local economy.

    Glasgow will host the 2013 junior world track championships.

  • Saiz apparently planning to return to cycling

    Tinkoff has refuted reports of a deal with Saiz (pictured)
    Article published:
    January 09, 2011, 12:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Has sights on helping a Spanish amateur team

    Manolo Saiz is set to return to cycling. The controversial team manager announced his planned return in a series of enigmatic reports on his new Twitter account, with apparently a Spanish amateur team understood to be his likely destination.

    Saiz was arrested in Operacion Puerto but no charges were ever filed. The former manager of Team ONCE has been out of the cycling scene since May 2006.

    In his tweets, he wished all a “happy 200 ONCE” (Spanish for eleven), saying he was “here at the request of my bike,” and indicated that he would be true to himself and those who have supported him.

    In a later tweet, he referred to amateur cycling, calling it the “small and great hope that brings me closer to cycling.,” specifically citing the Cueva el Soplao amateur team. Sunday morning he added, he had “been on stage” at the team, and “I assure you that cycling is still worth loving, just need motivation and affection.”

    Marca indicated that on Tuesday there would be more details as to Saiz' relationship to the amateur Cueva el Soplao team.

  • Petacchi still in the dark on doping investigation

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - Farnese Vini) crashed heavily during stage eight, but pushed on to the finish.
    Article published:
    January 09, 2011, 15:48 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian says Cavendish treats every race "like a war"

    Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) confirmed that he is still waiting to hear if the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) intends to refer or to drop an investigation into whether he used doping products.

    “I’ve already clarified everything,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “In spite of this, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a referral, but they would have to explain to me on what basis.”

    Petacchi last met with CONI in August after it emerged that he had been placed under investigation by Italian police as part of a widespread doping probe led by Padova-based magistrate Benedetto Roberti. He has been accused of using PFC and human serum albumin. Petacchi already served a suspension for a positive test for salbutamol in 2007, and at 37 years of age, further sanctions would effectively end his career.

    Petacchi’s friend and teammate Lorenzo Bernucci was suspended for six years in December after doping products were found in his home in April. Petacchi’s home was also searched at the time but no products were found.

    “Bernucci is still a friend,” Petacchi said. “If he has made mistakes, he will pay for them.”

    Meanwhile, as the 2011 season approaches, Petacchi is firmly focused on matters out on the road. The Italian is set to ride all three major tours this year as he builds towards his main objective, the world championships on a sprinter-friendly course in Copenhagen.

    “The Giro is tough, but [Lampre manager Beppe] Saronni told me that Hondo and I could help Scarponi in the team time trial,” he said. “Then the Tour and the Vuelta [to prepare] for the Worlds.”

    Petacchi led the Italian team at the 2005 world championships in Madrid but he failed to make the final selection in a race won by Tom Boonen. His disappointing performance and the perceived lack of support given to his teammate Paolo Bettini were a...