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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, March 14, 2010

Date published:
March 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • BigMat-Auber adds Florian Morizot to their roster

    Carly Light (AIS Australia Women
    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 16:53 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    24-year-old joins after being dropped from Saur-Sojasun

    The French continental team BigMat-Auber 93 has added one man to their 10-men roster: Florian Morizot. The 24-year-old returns to the team he rode for from 2006 to 2008.

    He joined Besson Chaussures in 2009, but his contract wasn't renewed when the team became Saur-Sojasun and moved into the Professional Continental ranks. "I've been afraid to be left with no team but fortunately I can thank [team manager] mister Javalet and the BigMat company," Morizot said.

    BigMat was the sponsor of the Parisian team present at the Tour de France until 2001, but the company pulled out of cycling sponsorship after the squad failed to qualify for the Grande Boucle. However, Auber 93 remained in the peloton as a Continental team with the philosophy of helping young riders to jump onto bigger teams.

    In the past few years, Mathieu Drujon and Arnold Jeannesson graduated from Auber 93 to Caisse d'Epargne and William Bonnet to Crédit Agricole (now with Bbox Bouygues Telecom).

    BigMat's comeback as a sponsor allowed Javalet to welcome back the rider who won the time trial of the Tour of Poitou-Charentes in 2008, beating no less than Lars Boom by 18 seconds on a 23km course.

    Morizot proved himself to be a great time triallist again when he finished 5th in the Chrono des Nations won by Alexandre Vinokourov in October last year.

    "I'll resume racing in mid-April (15th) and I'll do the Tour de Bretagne (April 25-May 1st) as well," Morizot said. An attractive time trial on the island of Jersey on the second day of the Tour de Bretagne will be the first test of his delayed start.

  • Spaniards set for battle in Paris-Nice finale

    Alberto Contador was all smiles at the start
    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 19:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contador looks to fend off Caisse d'Epargne charge

    At just 119km in length and with three category one climbs: the Col de la Porte, La Turbie and the final ascent, the Col d'Eze, the conclusion to the 68th Paris-Nice promises to be an exciting battle from start to finish between a trio of Spaniards at the top of the general classification.

    It's been one of the fastest editions of the race in history, and the penultimate stage of Paris-Nice was no different - the peloton tackled the 220km day in just 5 hours, averaging 43.7kilometres per hour.

    The favourites took a measured approach to the day in order to save their energies to what will be an all-out war on tomorrow's final stage. Behind stage winner Xavier Tondo (Cervelo), they waited until the final moments to show themselves at the front of the race, with Alejandro Valverde sprinting to second place on the stage to get a six second time bonus.

    Aside from best young rider Roman Kreuziger who sits in third overall, the race now looks to be an all-Spanish battle between race leader Alberto Contador, teammates Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez and perhaps even Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, all of whom are within 30 seconds of each other.

    With that in mind, Contador allowed his Astana squad to take a bit of a break today, relying on the Garmin-Transitions, Caisse d'Epargne and Liquigas teams to help control a large breakaway which escaped on the second climb of the 220km stage to Tourrettes-sur-Loup.

    "At the end they were more interested than me in winning," said Contador of his Spanish rivals Valverde and last year's race winner, Luis Leon Sanchez, both of Caisse d'Epargne.

    "Both Luis Leon and Valverde are very close on GC and have a very powerful team. I'm also here to win, but I know how I am and how my team is and I cannot take responsibility for the entire race."

    After having crashed earlier in the week, Contador said his legs have finally come around, just in time for what will be an...

  • Stevens to support HTC-Columbia teammates in California

    Evelyn Stevens (L) with Ina Teutenberg, Kim Andersen, Emilia Fahlin and Chloe Hosking.
    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 19:51 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    American stand-out enjoying life as a pro cyclist

    HTC-Columbia's new recruit Evelyn Stevens is gearing up for a strong performance during the upcoming block of racing in California that kicks off the US National Racing Calendar (NRC). Stevens and four of her teammates will compete in the San Dimas Stage Race, March 19-21 and the Redlands Bicycle Classic from March 25-28.

    Stevens took a break from her career in finance to try her hand at full-time bike racing last year. She competed in a full season of National Racing Calendar (NRC) events guest riding for various elite women's teams. She turned heads when she won the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic under the Lip Smackers banner and the Cascade Cycling Classic with Webcor-Builders, two of the toughest stage races in the country.

    "Things are going great and I'm really enjoying this," Stevens said. "I think it's exciting. I have a ton to learn and I think this is the best place for that. I'm riding with some of the best women out there. The team is really professional and a great organization. I had my first race with the team last weekend at Merco and it went well."

    Stevens is still figuring out her role on the team, however, she proved more than capable of aiding her teammate Ina-Yoko Teutenberg into two victories at the Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic's Downtown Grand Prix and Foothills Road Race last weekend.

    "I'm taking each race one at a time and trying to do what they tell me to do, but I think my role is to support the team anyway that I can," Stevens said. "I want to always do as well as I can. Mostly I want to be the best team rider that I can."

    Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Stevens now lives in New York City where she plans to keep her home base during downtime and in the off-season. When asked if she imagined such great success in the short amount of time since she began racing, her answer was, "No, not two years ago. I'm loving every moment of it. It hit me in Mallorca at the team camp the most, that my life had...

  • Biver confirms possibility of Team Schleck in 2011

    Astana's Marc Biver is interogated by media
    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 20:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Astana manager in talks with sponsor to create Luxembourg-based team

    Former Astana team manager Marc Biver has admitted he is in talks with a Luxembourg company about creating a team around Fränk and Andy Schleck for 2011.

    The brothers have promised to wait until after the Tour de France before abandoning current team manager Bjarne Riis but the Dane has yet to find a replacement for Saxo Bank, who will end their backing of his team at the end of the current season.

    It seems that Biver has been working on the idea of a Luxembourg team lead by the Schlecks for some time, perhaps as far back as November.

    Speaking to the L'Equipe on Saturday, Biver said: "A Luxembourg synergy would make sense, but I haven't asked for anything specific yet and no decision has been taken."

    "Before thinking about any possible agreement, I requested financial, contractual and ethical guarantees. I've given the Luxembourg group until April 15 to provide them. I need time to be able to create something serious."

    Biver was manager of the Astana team that was forced to leave the Tour de France in disgrace after Alexandre Vinokourov tested positive for blood doping in 2007. Andrey Kashechkin also failed a blood test after the Tour de France, while Matthias Kessler tested positive for testosterone in April and Eddy Mazzoleni was suspended for his involvement in the Oil For Drugs investigation in Italy. John Bruyneel was eventually brought in to save the team, only to leave himself last year to create the RadioShack team with Lance Armstrong.

    "The Schlecks have nothing to do with Vinokourov and Kashechkin, just like Luxembourg is not Kazakhstan..." Biver told l'Equipe, rebutting any similarities between any new Luxembourg team and the old Astana squad built around Vinokourov.

  • 25 teams for the 2010 Paris-Roubaix

    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 21:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Astana, Footon-Servetto not included

    A list of 25 teams for the upcoming 108th running of Paris-Roubaix has been announced by the Amaury Sport Organisation today.

    Included on the list were 14 of the 16 teams which, under the 2008 agreement between the ASO and UCI, are given automatic invitations to events such as Paris-Roubaix which fall under the Historic classification.

    AG2R La Mondiale, Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Caisse d'Epargne, Cofidis, HTC-Columbia, Euskaltel-Euskadi, Francaise des Jeux, Lampre-Farnese Vini, Liquigas-Doimo, Milram, Omega Pharma, Quick Step, Rabobank and Saxo Bank are all covered by the accord and make up part of the 25 teams for this year's Paris-Roubaix.

    Not included on the list are the Astana and Footon-Servetto teams.

    Added to the peloton for the 'Hell of the North' as wild cards are Italian teams Acqua e Sapone and Androni Giocattoli, the Swiss/American BMC team of perennial conteder George Hincapie and Cervélo TestTeam, which last year put Thor Hushovd on the podium.

    American team Garmin-Transitions will be at the start, as will last year's runner up Filippo Pozzato and his Katusha squad. Team Sky and 2007 runner-up Juan Antonio Flecha were given the nod as well.

    Gert Steegmans can continue his Paris-Roubaix dream as his RadioShack team has secured an invitation, as has Saur-Sojasun, Skil-Shimano and Vacansoleil.

    Paris-Roubaix takes place on Sunday, April 11.

    Teams for Paris-Roubaix

    AG2R La Mondiale
    Bbox Bouygues Telecom
    Caisse d'Epargne
    Francaise des Jeux
    Lampre-Farnese Vini
    Omega Pharma
    Quick Step
    Saxo Bank

    Wild cards

    Acqua e Sapone
    Androni Giocattoli
    Cervélo TestTeam

  • Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team unveils jersey

    Rahsaan Bahati shows the new jersey
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 10:30 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Graffiti-style jersey decorated with team values

    The Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team unveiled its YouTube-inspired racing jersey at a team launched held at the up-scale Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California on Friday night. The jersey is a white canvas for a graffiti script of words that describe the fundamental values of the Bahati Foundation: Hope, Give Back, Respect, Challenge and Unbelievable Passion.

    Bahati provided an in depth explanation of the importance of the foundation in the recent YouTube videos entitled ‘Bahati: Out of Compton
    Television Trailer’ and ‘Rahsaan Bahati Talking about Cannondale.’

    “The general reaction of the kits was that it’s completely overwhelming and positive all the way around,” said General Manager Steve Owens. “Its such an awesome kit. There is a story of how it was inspired. The YouTube video with Cannondale and Rahsaan Bahati out of Compton where he grew up. So, the jersey was designed after Louis Garneau saw the video.”

    The event served a primary purpose of introducing the Bahati Foundation. Team co-owner and racer Rahsaan Bahati created the organisation to help underprivileged inner-city children through the sport of cycling, education and music.

    “A lot of what we are doing with the team has to do with the Bahati Foundation,” said new recruit Nathan O’Neill. “We are giving back to the communities, schools and kids that come from under privileged communities. I’m sure that I will be called upon a little more than some of the other guys but I’m really looking forward to that.”

    “This is more than just racing my bike,” he added. “It’s about doing things for people who are less privileged than me. I’m a father now and I recognize the importance of bringing up kids in the right environment. It makes this more personal for me too.”

    The entertainment venue’s amphitheater-style seating was...

  • Sneak peek at Bont’s Cervelo Test Team shoes

    The CTT1 is Bont’s top of the range Cervelo Test Team shoe, which features a single crisscrossed Velcro strap below the ratchet system.
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 11:17 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Australian company shows off revised designs

    Cycling shoe manufacturer Bont has offered a sneak peek at the shoes it's created for Professional Continental outfit Cervelo TestTeam, which will also be available to consumers. The CTT1 and CTT3 are largely based off the company’s a-one and a-three models; however both incorporate changes to the strapping system.

    While the a-three features three Velcro straps, the CTT3 has replaced the top strap with Bont’s micro-adjustable ratchet system. The CTT1 on the other hand shares the a-one’s ratchet system, but has been swapped to a single crisscrossed Velcro strap below, that effectively does the work of two separate ones.

    Changes to the strapping system give the shoes give both a different look to the a-one and a-three, however the CTT1 and CTT3 still provides the same levels of support according to Bont.

    The shoes feature 'Cervelo Pro Cycling Test Team' on the straps, and will also feature the mirrored 'é' symbol used by the bike manufacturer on the heel.

    While only images of the black and red colour schemes were available at the time of publishing, Bont will also release a white version of the CTT3 with red stripes plus an all-white version of the CTT1. Cyclingnews was told there could be subtle changes to the shoes’ design before they go into production, which will start after this month’s trade show in Taipei.

    Pricing information is yet to be confirmed by Bont but the shoes are expected to be priced in the vicinity of their standard a-one and a-three counterparts.

  • Reda, Wegmann out of Tirenno-Adriatico

    Fabian Wegmann (Milram) after Tour de France stage six
    Article published:
    March 14, 2010, 12:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    Broken collarbones take out riders after crashes

    Tirreno-Adriatico has been hard on rider's collarbones. Two more riders have crashed out with fractures in the last two stages, with Fabian Wegmann of Milram and Quick Step's Francesco Reda the latest of a surprisingly long list of early-season collarbone breaks.

    Wegmann went down on Friday, when he was involved in a crash only 8km before the finish line. He flew home that same day and underwent successful surgery on Saturday, a Milram spokesman told Cyclingnews.

    Reda crashed Saturday on a descent immediately after the feed zone. He was taken to hospital in Chieti where the fracture was diagnosed. He was to fly to Belgium Sunday evening and undergo further examinations. The rider and his Quick Step team will decide on Monday if he is to undergo surgery.

    Wegmann and Reda join a growing list of collarbone victims. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Team Sky) and Steve Cozza (Garmin-Transitions) crashed out of the Tour of Qatar with fractures, while Gerald Ciolek (Milram) damaged his shoulder in a heavy fall.  

    However as Lance Armstrong proved last season, surgery can greatly reduce recovery time for riders. And with many now used to training intensly on the rollers, they can often return to racing and quickly be back on form. Arvesen is an example of that. He is made  comeback at Tirreno-Adriatico. He is not yet competitive but surgery and special training means his spring campaign has not been ruined by a broken collarbone.