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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, October 9, 2011

Date published:
October 09, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Vinokourov will return to racing at Chrono des Nations

    Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) has been training in Italy for his return to cycling. The Astana leader poses for a photo with Eddy Merckx, left, and Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
    Article published:
    October 08, 2011, 20:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Astana leader opts for time trial instead of Tour of Lombardy

    Alexandre Vinokourov will make his long awaited return to competition at the Chrono des Nations on October 16. The Astana team leader has not raced since crashing out of this year’s Tour de France with a broken femur, an injury suffered during stage 9. He briefly announced his retirement from the sport but made a backtrack and will race again this season after what has been a quick recovery.

    Now back on the bike and training in Italy, Vinokourov has built up his form and fitness ahead of the French time trial, which will also be a major test for Thomas Dekker. Vinokourov had made no secret of his plans to return to racing at the Tour of Lombardy but it soon became apparent that his time off the bike and the injury itself would have been too much for the aging rider.

    "During my last training I thought a lot about my return to competition. I feel good on the road, but I do not want to take risks with my health. I prefer to start with an individual time trial; it is a discipline in which the risk of crash is lower than in a Classic race, among a bunch. So I decided to take part in Chrono des Nations instead of the Tour of Lombardy."

    Vinokourov won the Chrono des Nations in 2009 but heading into this year’s race he is not putting himself down as one of the favourites.

    "It's a race I won in 2009, but this year I don’t presume to place myself as a favorite, I come back first to get the race pace back and above all to greet my supporters who have brought so much support in recent months, I am truly grateful of them!"

  • Tour of Beijing slowly opens for spectators

    A Leopard Trek rider goes by the Cube in Beijing
    Article published:
    October 08, 2011, 20:50 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Local authorities lock access to start and finish lines

    On Friday the inaugural Tour of Beijing suddenly took on the air of the Tour de France during its queen stage to Yon Ning. Flowers were gathered into cyclists' shapes, roads were embellished with an astonishing pumpkin sculpture dedicated to the race, and more impressively, some cyclo-sportives were standing along the road on the final climb of the day, the Erpuliang KOM. Among the spectators could be seen fans sporting European pro jerseys, like the former T-Mobile and, more surprisingly, the current Continental Swiss team Atlas.

    Flying above the peloton, the helicopter of Beijing TV was recording all this traditional background of Western cycling races while at the finish line a crowd had gathered, composed with locals and bike racing neophytes. Several hundred people, from both sexes and of all ages, followed the competition on a giant screen and applauded the final sprint.

    This presence of spectators contrasted with the cold atmosphere of the first two stages. Race video revealed empty roads around Beijing's Olympic village on Wednesday, and from Beijing to Men To Go on Thursday. Some newspapers started calling the Tour of Beijing an "event without any soul".

    Cyclingnews understands Global Cycling Promotion, the UCI commercial arm which organizes the race, never asked for such restrictive safety measures from local police.

    Where did the origin of this "no public" problem come from? On stage 1 fans couldn't access the course because of a double belt of barriers, positioned before the gate of the Olympic village. No one could approach closer than five hundred meters to the start or finish lines.

    People in front of the podium were in fact guests wearing official accreditation while the...

  • Video: Jean-Etienne Amaury, the "true" boss of the Tour de France

    Jean-Etienne Amaury talking to Asian cycling expert Alan Rushton
    Article published:
    October 08, 2011, 21:40 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Cycling is a family matter for ASO President

    The "true" patron of the Tour de France spoke to Cyclingnews in a rare and exclusive video interview at the Tour of Beijing. His name: Jean-Etienne Amaury.

    Since Patrice Clerc's departure at the end of 2008, Jean-Etienne Amaury has been the President of Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), above Yann Le Moënner, ASO's director, and Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France's director.

    The young CEO is the heir of the Tour de France's owners since the end of World War II. His grandfather Emilien managed the race as well as the newspapers L'Equipe and Le Parisien until 1977. His father, Philippe, played the same role until his death in 2006. His mother Marie Odile is since then the manager of the sports event and media holdings.

    From the Tour de France's perspective, Madame Amaury is at the very top of the hierarchy and her son is just below.

    As he used to watch the Tour in the 1980s and "met the champions", Jean-Etienne Amaury reveals his favourite rider was Bernard Hinault. "He was the best at that time", he said.

    Today, ASO's President says his "main preoccupation is to make the most attractive race for the public in France and over the world".

  • Video: "Come Dine with"... Cameron Wurf

    Liquigas-Cannondale put Cameron Wurf to work chasing
    Article published:
    October 08, 2011, 22:45 BST
    By:
    Pierre Carrey

    Tasmanian rider speaks about food at the Tour of Beijing

    The Tour of Beijing is for most of the riders the ultimate experience about sport... and food. Liquigas-Cannondale's Cameron Wurf has been enjoying his first visit to China, notably the dishes served at the hotels.

    "They use a lot of steamed-style cooking, which is very unusual for us," he told Cyclingnews in a video interview.

    From the fried rice in use for breakfast to the unusual jelly he eats for dessert, the Tasmanian describes a wide range of specialities and meals outside the usual fare consumed by professional cyclists in Europe.

    Wurf, fifth overall at the Tour of Turkey earlier this season, has been pleased with his culinary experience. "The most important is that it's fresh and cooked."

  • On the rise Keough chasing more wins at Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    Teammates Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Jake Keough happy with the top two spots for the day.
    Article published:
    October 08, 2011, 23:30 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    UnitedHealthcare's blue train eyeing Australian success

    Following a sensational season to date with 16 podiums with half of those on the top step, Jake Keough heads to Australia for the first time to ride this week's Jayco Herald Sun Tour with a sprint-primed UnitedHealthcare outfit.

    Keough who hails from Massachusetts, will join Australian pair Jonny and Hilton Clarke, along with Morgan Schmitt (USA), Boy Van Poppel (Ned) and Adrian Hegyvary (USA) for the five-stage UCI 2.1 event with the hope that the efficacious blue train can add to their 21 stage wins for the 2011 season. It's a challenge that the 23-year-old is relishing having recently finished second on the US National Racing Calendar standings for 2011.

    "It's a world-class race," Keough told Cyclingnews. "You look at the list of the past winners and it's really a who's who of current pro cycling. When we realised we had the invite to the race, we picked our squad for the end of the season – it was definitely a target and a goal."

    The Jayco Herald Sun Tour marks the culmination of and end of season racing block for the team with the Melbourne-bound riders coming off either some Italian stage and one-day races ending with the chaotic Giro di Padania or the US Pro Cycling...

  • Drapac sign trainee Thompson for 2012

    Stage 7 winner Stuart Shaw (Drapac Porsche Cycling Team)
    Article published:
    October 09, 2011, 1:13 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian squad re-signs veterans Shaw and Pollock

    Drapac Cycling Team have announced that 25-year-old Peter Thompson will be joining the team full time next season. Thompson won the opening stage of this year's Tour of Toowoomba while riding as a trainee with the team, and more recently completed the 8-day Tour of the Murray River.

    According to Director Agostino Giramondo, Thompson's development over the past six months was enough to satisfy the team that he would be worth signing up full time.

    "I'm really happy with Peter's progress and I think he was a natural fit for the team, while he was riding for us," said Giramondo. "We were keen to keep him with us next year, and he was happy to stay."

    Rhys Pollock and Stuart Shaw have also confirmed that they will be staying with Drapac for yet another year. The two have become synonomous with the red colours of Drapac over the years, and were happy to continue their involvement with the team.

    "I am really thrilled to be back on board for my fourth year at Drapac Professional cycling, looking forward to a great season with some new challenges," said 2010 Melbourne to Warrnambool winner Pollock.

    Shaw meanwhile becomes the longest serving rider to have been involved with the Drapac squad.

    “I'm pumped to be back with Drapac, it’s a great team environment!" said Shaw. "I think it's an exciting time in cycling and I'm looking forward to riding with our up scaled race program, team roster and new ACE Corporate events for 2012."

    Drapac are next racing at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour on October 10.

  • Recharged Lloyd returns to racing at Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto) wins the stage.
    Article published:
    October 09, 2011, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    29-year-old motivated for next chapter in his career

    Nearly six months after quitting the Omega Pharma-Lotto team by mutual consent, Matt Lloyd is finally making his long-awaited return to competitive racing, albeit in a national team, at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. After a European summer that revolved around rebuilding his core muscles and rehabilitating the injuries to his shoulder and spine at the AIS base in Italy, the 29-year-old is now fitter than ever and perhaps more importantly, his hunger for racing has well and truly returned.

    "It was really good to get the opportunity to look in retrospect, and reflect," said Lloyd. "I was able to re-think where I needed to be, and I think I’m now there. I’m more motivated now than I’ve ever been which is great."

    "And from what I can tell through the different data, and the testing I’ve been doing, I’d say the form looks quite good at the moment as well. The first few days back racing are always going to be slow getting into it, just in terms of getting used to what’s going on, but I’m feeling comfortable, and I’m injury free."

    Fond memories of Buninyong

    Lloyd will be supported in Victoria by a national team bulging with quality including Cameron Wurf, who's currently racing at the Tour of Beijing, as well as friend and potential future GreenEdge teammate Wes Sulzberger.

    Not that the former Lotto rider will necessarily need the help. As he's shown in previous years when he's on song - he’s a hard man to beat. At the 2008 Australian Road Championships he surprised a number of the pre-race favourites to take out his first and only national title soloing away to a career-defining win in Buninyong. The 'Sun Tour' will pass through the very same roads in 2011, and as...

  • Rasmussen says Garmin-Cervelo still wants him

    Alex Rasmussen (HTC Highroad)
    Article published:
    October 09, 2011, 12:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Vaughters said to want him after possible whereabouts violations suspension

    Alex Rasmussen said that he will be with Garmin-Cervelo when his possible doping-related suspension is resolved.  The Dane said that Jonathan Vaughters still wants him, although the team had previously publicly said otherwise.

    "I am not out. I've talked to Jonathan Vaughters, who decides in the end. He wants me on the team when I return," Rasmussen told spn.dk.

    Last month, Rasmussen was suspended by the Danish Cycling Union and fired by HTC-Highroad after it was disclosed he had missed three out-of-competition doping controls in an 18-month period.  Rasmussen, 27, has said that the missed doping controls were due to sloppiness and a lack of organization on his part, and had nothing to do with doping.

    It had earlier been announced that he would ride for Garmin-Cervelo in 2012, but the team told Cyclingnews that the contract had been annulled. “Our policy is stringent. In light of this situation, Alex Rasmussen will not be joining our team," a team spokesperson said after Rasmussen was suspended.

    However, Rasmussen said, “I've heard that. But if I have Jonathan Vaughters' word that they'll keep me, it is most important. I have also spoken with some of the sports directors. They are all positive. I am very grateful that they still want to keep me after this.”

    He faces a one-to-two year suspension for his whereabouts violations, but hopes to get off. In addition, his lawyer said he might get off with no suspension, because of a procedural error. "I only know what my lawyer tells me....