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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, November 13, 2011

Date published:
November 13, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Vacansoleil claims to have 2012 WorldTour licence

    The Vacansoleil team is presented on stage
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 10:06 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    UPDATE: UCI won't confirm team announcement

    Vacansoleil-DCM will again be part of the WorldTour in 2012. The team said that the International Cycling Union has said it will receive its licence, despite an initial delay.

    Team manager Daan Luijkx confirmed that the UCI had sent him a letter stating that the team's licence for the WorldTour “is in order” in an interview with Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

    The UCI would not confirm the announcement.  Spokesman Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews, “the next official communication will be shortly after November 20th, following the first series of decisions by the Licence Commission.”

    The Dutch team received its three-year WorldTour licence last year, although the UCI reviews each team's status in cycling's top flight annually. It was one of two teams this season whose licence was not automatically renewed - it had to meet with the commission "in accordance with article 2.15.071 of the regulations", which stipulates the procedures for teams which were unable to be registered by the UCI.

    The other team was RadioShack, whose spokesman Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews Saturday afternoon that the team had not yet heard anything.

    The team claimed to have met all administrative, financial and sporting requirements and according to De Telegraaf, the UCI “had ethical questions about the role of  controversial Riccardo Ricco in the first months of the year with the team.” Ultimately the team did not have to meet with the commission “and therefore the sponsors and riders were held in suspense for ten days for nothing.”

  • Boonen may ride in Tour de San Luis

    Tom Boonen (Quick Step) before the start.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 10:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Might skip Qatar for the first time in nine years

    Tom Boonen may change his season preparations next year, skipping the Tour of Qatar and instead riding the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. Boonen has opened his season in Qatar since 2004.

    “The Tour de San Luis is indeed an option,” Omega Pharma-Quick Step team leader Wilfried Peeters told Sporza. “But there is still no decision.  We must look again quietly with the riders and sponsors.”

    The other option would be the Tour Down Under (January 15-22), while the Tour de San Luis runs from January 23 to 29. The Tour of Qatar does not start until February 5, and Boonen is said to want to start his season earlier in 2012. He has not raced this year since breaking his wrist in the Vuelta a Espana in early September.

    Boonen, 31, has won the Tour of Qatar overall title three times, and has won 17 individual stages of the event. He won the first stage of this year's Tour of Qatar as one of only two wins on the season.

    It has already been announced that Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liguigas) are expected to start in San Luis. Five WorldTour teams will ride in Argentina:  Saxo Bank-SunGard, Liquigas, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Movistar and AG2R-La Mondiale.

  • Sicard apologises for drunken prank

    Under-23 World Champion Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 15:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Calls behaviour “immature and irresponsible”

    Romain Sicard of Euskaltel-Euskadi has apologised for a drunken prank incident earlier this week, saying he has learned his lesson. He is now aware “of the need for impeccable behaviour,” he said.

    Sicard was taken into custody early Thursday morning when police in Toulouse spotted him putting a traffic sign into his car, in which they also found a traffic cone.  A breathalyzer test showed him to be intoxicated. Sicard said in a statement on his team's website that the incident happened “after a dinner with friends, I was showed immature and irresponsible behaviour”. 

    “I want to apologize to all who trust in me and who have shown their support during this time: my family, fans, in addition to the young fans for the bad example that I gave them. Finally, I apologize especially to my team, sponsors, the staff and my colleagues for the damage I've done to our image,  so bad and so far from the principles advocated by the Euskadi Euskaltel team.

    “I have taken harsh awareness of the need for impeccable behavior, I look towards the future and hope, focusing on sports performance, to forget this episode,” he concluded.

  • Blijlevens to coach Rabobank sprinters

    Jeroen Blijlevens wins a stage of the 1998 Tour de France
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 16:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dutchman will continue to direct women

    Retired Dutch sprinting ace Jeroen Blijlevens will help guide the Rabobank fast men to victory in 2012. According to BN/De Stem, Blijlevens will take on the role with the pro men's squad in addition to his duties directing the Rabobank women's team.

    The team was reportedly interested in hiring the ex-HTC-Highroad sprint coach Erik Zabel for the job, but the German has been confirmed to take on that role at Katusha.

    Blijlevens said that the other WorldTour teams such as Katusha have employed former top sprinters as advisors, and Rabobank is doing the same. "Everything is becoming more professional. There's more attention to detail. Cipollini is with Katusha, and now Zabel is going there, too.:

    Blijlevens, a contemporary of these two sprinting giants brings a decade of top-level experience and sprint victories in all three Grand Tours to the team.

    "Sprinters need to talk to people who know what it's like to ride a sprint. Sprinting is a sensation you have to know. Sprinters therefore prefer to take advice from someone who has experienced it all."

    The team added Australian Mark Renshaw after the exit of three-time world champion Oscar Freire from the squad, and together with Theo Bos will make a formidable presence in the sprints.

    Blijlevens will continue to direct the Rabobank women's team, which will be led by Marianne Vos.

  • L'Etape du California returns in 2012

    Glendora Ridge Road with Mt. Baldy in the background.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 16:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Amateurs to tackle Mt. Baldy again

    Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California have announced the return of the amateur sportif, the L'Etape du [Tour of] California, which will take place on Saturday, April 28, 2012.

    L'Etape debuted this year, taking on the parcours of stage 7 to Mt. Baldy, and will return to the same finish line again in 2012. This time the ride will begin in the town of Ontario, which also hosts the professionals on May 19.

    The details of the course will be announced in the new year, but will likely take in a similar route to the top of Mt. Baldy to that of 2011, which began in nearby Claremont.

    The field for the 2012 L'Etape du California will again be limited to 2,500 riders.

    "We are excited to be bringing this once-in-a-lifetime experience to amateur cyclists and applaud AEG for continuing this cycling tradition," said Jack Caress, President and CEO of Pacific Sports, producer of L'Etape du California. "Stage 7 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California was one of the most talked about stages, and it was watched by people from around the world, so we know interest for this year's L'Etape du California will be even greater. We're looking forward to a fantastic race."

    For more information, please visit

  • Possoni to Lampre-ISD

    Morris Possoni (Sky) ascends Mont Faron.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 19:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian returns home after four years

    After four seasons on English-speaking teams, Italian Morris Possoni will return to his homeland to join the Lampre-ISD team, reported today.

    The 27-year-old from Bergamo began his professional career with the team in 2005 as a trainee and remained there until 2008, when he joined the Columbia-HTC team.

    In 2009 he moved over to Team Sky, but will now re-join the Lampre team along with neo-pro Massimo Graziato, Colombian Winner Anacona, Davide Cimolai and Simone Stortoni.

    A notable climber, Possoni took second overall at the 2010 Brixia Tour and proved a valuable domestique for Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins in this year's Vuelta a España.

  • García Acosta reflects on 17 years with one team

    The hugely experienced José Vicente García Acosta (Movistar).
    Article published:
    November 12, 2011, 20:26 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    Spanish veteran started his career with Banesto in Indurain era and ends it with Movistar

    In a sport where half a dozen years with the same team is a remarkable achievement given the way that form, sponsors and fortune come and go, José Vicente García Acosta’s record of 17 years with the same outfit is quite extraordinary. After a spell as a stagiaire with Banesto in the latter half of 1994, he signed with the team for 1995 and has been with it ever since as it evolved into, Illes Balears, Caisse d’Epargne and then, this year, Movistar.

    During that period, the Spaniard made a staggering 27 Grand Tour appearances, 15 in the Vuelta a España and 12 in the Tour de France, and established himself as one of the most dependable domestiques in the sport.

    Persuaded by teammates and Movistar’s management at the end of 2010 to do one more year in the bunch, the rider known simply as ‘Chente’ finally bowed out this season at the age of 39, making his final appearance at the Vuelta, where, unfortunately, he crashed out on stage five and failed to achieve his final ambition of ending his career in Madrid.

    "I enjoyed this season a lot more because I knew it was going to be my last one. And then I had the fall in the Vuelta. It wasn’t the best possible finish, but it’s another good reason for not changing my mind and for confirming that this is my goodbye to cycling," he told Meta2Mil.

    When he joined the team in 1995, it was very much built around Miguel Indurain, but even then it had an international flavour. "We had riders from lots of different countries but the calendar was very different as we only used to race in France and Spain. In addition, the team was built around Miguel Indurain and often it didn’t take...

  • Basso's focus on Tour in 2011 a disappointment

    Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    November 13, 2011, 16:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian aiming for third Giro d'Italia title

    In one week, vacation time will be over for Liquigas-Cannondale's Ivan Basso, and he will get back to work in hopes of having a more satisfying year than 2011. In 2012, he will aim for his third Giro d'Italia victory rather than focus solely on the Tour de France.

    Basso just returned from Italy from a holiday in the Canary Islands, which was spent with his young family, to donate one of his pink jerseys to the Museo del ciclismo di Cesiomaggiore at the presentation of the two Dolomite stages of the upcoming Giro d'Italia.

    Writing in his persona blog,, Basso revealed that he has been having neuromuscular issues since a training crash in Sicily last May on Mount Etna. While 15 stitches closed the wounds to his face, he has had lingering problems with his neck from the incident.

    "Under pressure, I still have tingling in my right arm and hand, I have to solve these neuromuscular problems that are triggered from the neck. Under stress, then the right eye is more closed than the other from the scar that pulls on the skin. ... I am continuing with stretching and strengthening exercises, especially for the muscles of the neck."

    Basso admitted that his singular focus on the Tour de France this year ended in disappointment. "When you focus on one goal, in my case the Tour, and you fail to reach it, the season is bad."

    He finished eighth overall in Paris, more than seven minutes behind winner Cadel Evans, and Basso blamed the crash which put him off the bike for almost two weeks in May for hurting his chances. "In usually do 30-40 thousand meters of climbing in training per month. In May, after the crash on Mount Etna and 12 days of rest, I only did 16,000, but I finished in...