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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 13, 2010

Date published:
June 13, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Menchov gains confidence despite time loss on L'Alpe d'Huez

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank) would finish 41st in Alpe d'Huez, over nine minutes behind the winner.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 10:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Rabobank satisfied with Russian's ride in the Dauphiné

    Denis Menchov couldn't keep up with the leading favourites on Saturday's climb to the finish at Alpe d'Huez in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Rabobank rider finished nine and a half minutes down but his team management refused to worry about his performance and form as the Tour de France begins to near.

    "It was a shame that Denis could not follow, but it does not change the good things we'll take from this race,” said directeur sportif Frans Maassen. “He'll go away with a lot more confidence than he started with."

    The Russian had two goals going into the Critérium du Dauphiné: “A test in the long time trial and a test in a mountain stage,” Maassen said. Menchov finished fifth in the 49 km time trial, ahead of Contador, and was only 23 seconds down in the first mountain stage the following day.

    Menchov tried to go with Contador's initial attacks on the Alpe d'Huez but had to let him go. “It was 10 kilometres from the finish, Denis saw he couldn't do it, so he just let it go,” said Maassen. He called the decision “sensible,” because Menchov was not in the race to get an overall result.

    After the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Russian will have “a few weeks to recuperate and do altitude training," Maassen said. "That should be just enough to get into a good form for the start of the Tour. He doesn't doubt that. He will end this race relaxed. That is what we have gained from the Dauphine.”

  • Vorarlberg-Corratec team suspended due to rider contract issues

    Veteran rider Rene Haselbacher from Austria is Vorarlberg-Corratec's main man on the tour after spending seasons with Gerolsteiner and Astana.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 11:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Austrian media claims riders are signed via a leasing firm

    The Austrian Vorarlberg-Corratec team has had its licence suspended because of problems with the riders' contracts, not because of a lack of payments according to Austrian media. The International Cycling Union yesterday confirmed to Cyclingnews that it has temporarily suspended the Professional Continental team.

    According to Austrian television channel ORF, the problem has been sparked because the riders are employed by a personnel leasing firm. UCI regulations require that the riders on Professional Continental teams be employed by a “paying agent” for the team, which in this case would be the licence holder, Pro-Event Cycling Sports.

    Team manager Thomas Kofler told that he will issue a statement on the matter on Monday or Tuesday.

    The problems mean the team's participation in the Österreich Rundfahrt, the biggest goal of the team, is in danger if the licence issue is not resolved. The race is scheduled to start on Sunday, July 4.

  • Péraud still in hospital after Dauphiné crash

    Jean-Christophe Peraud celebrates after taking the French TT title.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 11:46 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    French TT champion won’t defend title

    Jean-Christophe Péraud of the Omega Pharma-Lotto is still in hospital in Lyon after pulling out of the Critérium du Dauphiné following stage three.

    His team doctor told French newspaper L'Equipe that he is suffering from severe dehydration and stomach problems but according to his agent Michel Gros, he is suffering from blood poisoning and will remain in hospital at least until Monday.

    Péraud crashed into a team car during stage one of the Critérium du Dauphiné as he was on his way back to the peloton but managed to finish the stage despite cuts and bruises all over his body. He then crashed again the next day but with fewer consequences.

    The mountain bike silver medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games finished eighth overall at Paris-Nice and fourth at the Volta al Pais Vasco this year but joked after his recent crash: “Maybe I’m not made for racing in a peloton and I should go back to my dirt tracks because they don’t move.”

    Péraud insisted on riding the individual time trial stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné but suffered and finished just 41st. His Omega Pharma-Lotto team minimised his health problems but Gros said it still not clear if Péraud would be able to leave hospital on Monday.

    “The treatment will depend on which kind of virus he’s affected by,” Gros said.

    Péraud is not expected to defend his French time trial title on June 24 in Chantonnay and questions remain about his chances of riding the Tour de France. Péraud was recruited by the Belgian squad in November after world champion Cadel Evans quit the team to join BMC.

  • Italian team expelled from Girobio after police search

    Stage 2 Girobio winner Gianluca Leonardi (Marchiol-Pasta Montegrappa-Orogildo) of Italy
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 11:48 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Drugs found on riders, staff and vehicles of the Lucchini Unidelta team

    The Girobio stage race is leading the way in the fight against a drug culture in Italian cycling, but the race was in shock after Italian police carried out a targeted search on the Lucchini Unidelta team and reportedly discovered a large quantity of medicines and possible blood doping equipment.

    Under the rules of the Girobio, riders are not allowed to poses even multivitamins and medicines and so the Lucchini Unidelta team was immediately expelled from the race before the start of stage two. Omar Lombardi from the team won the opening stage and was race leader but he was also sent home.

    According to reports in Italian media, hormones, medicines to help recovery, syringes and butterfly valves were found in the rider's accommodation, in the room of team manager and former professional rider Bruno Leali, at Leali's home and in his team car and at the team's base near Brescia. The police action was part of an on-going investigation into doping in cycling by police in Padua.

    "The Girobio is based on rules of clean racing, honesty and credibility. Leali and his team have violated these rules and so, knowing we've done the right thing in respect to the other riders in the race, we've expelled them from the race," event directeur Giancarlo Brocci announced.

    Bruno Leali was a professional rider in the eighties and early nineties, winning the Italian national title in 1987 and wearing the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia in 1993. Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport after the police search, he insisted the drugs found were not banned substances but just used to help recovery.

    "They're just medicines, prescription medicines. I kept them in my bag, ready to use but only after the team doctor had given me a prescription," Leali claimed in his defence.

    "I knew I wasn't supposed to have the medicines (at the Girobio). I made a small mistake but I did it so that I could act quickly if needed. Now we'll see what happens but...

  • Hushovd back in action at the Tour de Suisse

    Cervelo's Thor Hushovd before the start.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 13:54 BST
    Susan Wesetmeyer

    Norwegian returns after broken collarbone

    Norwegian sprinter and Tour de France green jersey winner Thor Hushovd is back in action at the Tour de Suisse, five weeks after breaking his collarbone in a training crash on May 8. 

    The Cervelo TestTeam rider finished 129th, taking 59 seconds more than winner Fabian Cancellara to cover the 7.6km hilly course around Lugano.

    "It was good and I am happy I just started,” he said on the team's website. “I didn't want to take any risks in the prologue, everything went fine, I'm just happy to be back racing."

    The Norwegian rider is still recovering from his injuries and admitted he  feeling it more in the muscles than in the bone he fractured.

    “As my form is now, I could probably not have ridden any faster up the hill,'” he said. “Then came the rain and I took it calmly,” he told the Norwegian website

    The Tour de Suisse is “crazy hard,” he concluded up, confirming the feeling amongst the sprinters in this year's race that they face a lot of climbing and few chances to test their speed.


  • Roche shows quick return to form, seeks Tour ride

    Nicolas Roche (AG2R) shows the strain.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 18:16 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Irish road race champion bounces back after injury

    Just over a month ago, there appeared to be a real question mark over the chances of Nicolas Roche riding this year's Tour de France. A torn hamstring saw him pull out of the Tour de Romandie and forced him to take two and a half weeks completely off the bike. However, a quick return to form has put him back into contention for what would be his second ride in cycling's biggest event, giving him a chance to build on a strong debut last year.

    Roche was fourth in the GP Canton d'Argovie last Sunday, then netted 21st in yesterday's stage one time trial in the Tour de Suisse. The latter performance was hindered by wet weather which saw him hold back on the descent, and so perhaps a better reflection of his form can be derived from the fact that he ended up third-quickest at the intermediate time check, which came close to the top of a long hill.

    "I didn't want to take any risks, and I lost a fair bit of time on the descent and the last two kilometres, where there were three corners," he told Cyclingnews after the stage. "I didn't want to chance falling. But I was happy with the first part, as I had one of the best times at the top of the climb."

    Roche again rode well on stage two, being prominently placed on the climb near the end of the stage and moving to 15th overall. Despite the layoff, he said that he knew his form was solid prior to this return to racing.

    "I wasn't surprised [to get fourth in the GP Canton d'Argovie] because even though I had only re-started, I had done my usual test climbs when I was training and my time was good enough," he said. "So I knew that even if I wasn't at my top, that I was competitive."

    It is important for him to show his AG2R La Mondiale team that he is in good condition despite his layoff. Making the Tour squad appeared to be a given prior to his injury, thanks to results such as 10th overall in Paris-Nice, fifth overall in the Volta a Catalunya and a smattering of high stage...

  • Boasson Hagen earns ticket for Tour de France

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) after crossing the line.
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 20:12 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Norwegian returns to winning ways at the Dauphiné

    Edvald Boasson Hagen claimed his first win since the last stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in March, in so doing likely earning himself a berth at the Tour de France.

    At the Dauphiné on Sunday, he won the seventh and final stage, but it wasn't a bunch sprint this time around. The Norwegian did it in a style to that of Bernard Hinault when he won the 1980 world championship in the same town, Sallanches.  The day's stage also included the Domancy, a climb which Dauphiné riders had to ascend five times.

    "We had a plan for winning the stage this morning," Boasson Hagen said in a post race press conference. "That's why Team Sky rode behind the breakaway that went early. When we got close to the escapees, I counter attacked, and it was nice that I managed to stay in the front. It's good to win today and to be back after the injury."

    After Milan-San Remo, where he didn't deliver the result he expected due to an upset stomach, the Norwegian was sidelined with an inflammation of his Achilles tendon. "I got a lot of physiotherapy treatment with a great support from my team," Boasson Hagen said. "Hopefully it's gone."

    "I'm still not 100 percent sure of the reason why I got it, so I hope it won't come back. It didn't bother me too much and I wasn't afraid of not returning to my previous level. There was never any stress from my team, and I'm not a stressed guy either, so I took it easy during my break. I've used my free time the best way I could."

    Boasson Hagen isn't a great connoisseur of cycling history, but he was told before the last stage of the Dauphiné that the day's parcours would be part of the circuit of Sallanches, where Bernard Hinault was crowned 1980 world champion. All 11 teammates of 'the Badger' on that year's French national team were invited to follow and watch the finish of the Dauphiné: Robert Alban, Jean-René Bernaudeau, Christian Seznec, Bernard Bourreau, André...

  • Rest was key to success for Brajkovic at Dauphiné

    Janez Brajkovic (Team RadioShack) leads Alberto Contador (Astana) rides in the peloton on the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné
    Article published:
    June 13, 2010, 21:31 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    "Little JB's" chances to ride the Tour de France are 50-50

    Janez Brajkovic realised what a big deal it was for him to win the Dauphiné when he looked at the record book before starting the final stage. A few hours later, he joined the five-time (or more) Tour de France winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong in adding the Dauphiné to his palmarès.

    "I don't care if (Alberto) Contador (Astana) wasn't at his best form or if other top riders weren't here this week," Brajkovic said after the final stage in Sallanches. "This is the Dauphiné! To beat Contador is enough for me to be happy with my win. He's the best rider in the world and even when not at his best, he can win almost any race he takes part in, so I think I've done a good job."

    Brajkovic didn't lose any seconds to the Spaniard after he took the yellow and blue leader's jersey in the 49km individual time trial that he won on Wednesday. Up l'Alpe d'Huez, he resisted all attacks from Contador, the captain of Astana.

    "Alberto didn't try to take me on today," said Brajkovic of the final day of racing. "He didn't want to take any risks on the wet downhill, I suppose. But it wasn't an easy last stage. There were many attacks. Fortunately my team kept everything under control and AG2R was pulling really hard. They wanted to come across to the breakaway, but they didn't manage to do it. It was good for us. I felt good even if I don't like the kind of steep and short climb we faced."

    "It's been a perfect week," the Slovenian said. "I'm very happy for myself and for my team. You might not have seen it, but sometimes I found the race very hard because I was suffering from allergies."

    "For me to win a race, my form has to be perfect. The course and the weather have to suit me, but I can win races. Actually, I'm a lot more self-confident now. It doesn't mean I can be the best all the time, not by any means. I've been very constant this year. I've been in the...