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First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, September 26, 2010

Date published:
September 26, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Péraud signs for AG2R

    Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jean-Christophe Péraud has enjoyed a successful switch to the road.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 17:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Lavenu confirms that Frenchman is final signing for 2011

    Jean-Christophe Péraud has signed for AG2R-La Mondiale for 2011. The Frenchman has penned a two-year deal with his new team after turning professional with Omega Pharma-Lotto this season.

    The 33-year-old won the cross country mountain bike silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games and switched his attention to the road after winning the French time trial title in 2009. In his debut season as a professional on the road, Péraud offered some impressive performances at Paris-Nice, where he was 9th overall, and the Tour of the Basque Country, where he finished in 4th. He recently completed his first major tour at the Vuelta a España, reaching Madrid in 39th place.

    "We've wanted to sign him for a long time," AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu told L'Équipe. "We already had talks with him last year, but unfortunately we couldn't do anything because I didn't have the budget."

    Péraud signed a two-year contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto last winter but Lavenu managed to negotiate his release. "Everything gathered pace during the Vuelta," he said. "We came to an agreement with him, but also with his team. Jean-Christophe wanted to move to a French team and his team understood. It all went well with his managers there. I have to thank them, really."

    Lavenu believes that Péraud can provide crucial support to Ireland's Nicolas Roche at next year's Tour de France and relieve him from some of his burdens as leader. After an impressive Tour, Roche went on to finish the Vuelta in 7th place.

    "We already have Nicolas as a leader," Lavenu said. "But it's our intention to have a high-level team and to do that one leader isn't enough. This will allow us to share the pressure. Along with Nicolas we hope that Jean-Christophe will show well at the 2011 Tour."

    Lavenu is also unconcerned by Péraud's age. Having turned his attention fully to the road this season, he believes that his new signing...

  • Cozza ready for increased responsibility at Team NetApp

    Garmin-Transitions' Steven Cozza signs autographs
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 19:50 BST
    Daniel Benson

    American to focus attention on Classics, Amgen Tour of California

    With Steven Cozza set to ride for Team NetApp in 2011 the American is already preparing to take on more responsibility within the German Pro Continental team as they aim to become ProTour by 2013.

    Cozza joins a list of Garmin riders that includes Danny Pate, Timmy Duggan, Fredrik Kessiakoff, Ricardo van der Velde, Trent Lowe, Svein Tuft and Christian Meier who will be riding for new teams in 2011.

    Cozza's move to the promising German team will mark a new chapter in his career as the 25-year-old intends to focus on the Classics and the Amgen Tour of California, where he hopes to win a stage.

    "As we all now Garmin and Cervélo merged and they took a lot of the Classics riders as part of the package. I started talking to my agent and it came to a point where I had a contract through to 2011 but with all the new Classics riders the squad looked to be too big," Cozza told Cyclingnews.

    "The opportunity to do those races wasn't really available for me and I saw an opportunity and decided to switch teams."

    The move will also allow Cozza to share greater responsibility. Having raced some of the biggest races in Europe, Cozza will be one of the German team's most experienced riders.

    "You might think it's crazy going from a ProTour team to a Pro Continental team but sometimes you've got to take two step backwards to take two steps forward. I've learnt so much the four years I've raced with Jonathan Vaughters. I've been able to do the best races in the world with guys like Christian Vande Velde so I'm looking to take that experience to the team and help them grow. If anything they're a bit like how Slipstream was three years ago."

    Despite Team NetApp having a base in Maastricht, Cozza will keep his European base in Girona, Spain where most of his former teammates are based. His usual training rides will not be effected, meaning he'll still be out on the roads with the riders he has built such strong...

  • Jure Robic killed in accident

    Jure Robic at the 2009 Crocodile Trophy mountain bike race in Australia.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 20:41 BST
    Cycling News

    5-time RAAM winner collides with car

    Jure Robic, five-time winner of the Race Across America, was killed on Friday following a collision with a car near his home in Jesenice, Slovenia.

    Initial police reports state Robic, while descending a narrow mountain road in Plavski Rovt, collided head on in a curve with a car driven by a local 55-year-old man.

    The 45-year-old Robic, on a training ride in preparation for Australia's Crocodile Trophy mountain bike race, died at the scene. The accident is under investigation.

    Jure Robic was born in Jesenice, Slovenia in 1965 and began his cycling career with the Lip Bled cycling club. Between 1988 and 1994 he was a part of the Slovenian national road cycling team, after which he took up ultra-marathon cycling.

    Robic is perhaps best known for his five victories in the Race Across America, including the 2010 edition. Robic also set the 24 hour road world record, won Le Tour Direct two consecutive times and won the DOS, the race across Slovenia, three consecutive times. Robic achieved over 100 victories and 150 podium appearances throughout his cycling career.

  • Boardman Bikes to sponsor UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis

    Boardman Bikes will sponsor UnitedHealthCare presented by Maxxis in 2011.
    Article published:
    September 24, 2010, 22:29 BST
    Bike Radar

    US team looks forward to also utilizing Boardman's expertise

    The UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis team will ride Boardman bikes in 2011, both parties confirmed on Friday.

    The team will ride the new Elite SLR (Superlight Racing) and Elite AiR (Aerodynamic Racing) road frames and the latest Elite AiR/TT time trial frame.

    For UnitedHealthCare, the partnership will not only supply them with bikes, but also Chris Boardman's expertise as a highly successful pro racer.

    "Our focus with this team was to build it to win on an ever-widening stage, and especially the Amgen Tour of California," said team director Mike Tamayo in a statement. "To do that, we've not only been looking to sign quality riders, but also to partner with quality sponsors. When we looked at potential bike partners, we immediately saw the advantage in a company like Boardman Bikes.

    "They build super-light carbon bikes and technologically advanced time trial machines. Just as important, we could see how, for instance, Chris Boardman could help our riders get back time in the time trials of the Amgen Tour, or help new signing Scott Zwizanski reach the top step of the U.S. Time Trial Championships. Just having his expertise will prove invaluable for our riders."

    For Boardman Bikes, the sponsorship will help them gain a foothold in both the US and European markets, both of which are important for their future growth.

    "With Team UnitedHealthcare stepping up to Professional Continental for 2011, they give us a platform here in Europe, but also a fantastic entry into the North American market," Chris Boardman said. "They've been one of the top teams in the U.S. for some time, and they've earned a reputation for professionalism both on and off the bike. We're all looking forward to helping the team achieve its goals and aspirations as it grows toward the ProTour level."

  • Gilbert likes Worlds course in Melbourne

    Stage winner Philippe Gilbert uncorks the bubbly for the second time in the 2010 Vuelta.
    Article published:
    September 25, 2010, 10:15 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Belgian sees good chances to take the win

    Belgium's Philippe Gilbert is full of confidence after his first training ride on the world championship road course in Melbourne, calling it “especially tough” and "good for me" because of the two short but steep climbs on each laps.

    "The simulation ride on the indoor trainer that national coach Carlo Bomans showed me was bang on: It's not easy, there are two steep climbs, with the first one a lot like the slope that we had last year in the Belgian Championship in Aywaille,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

    “Because of the technical and twisty start, we hit the foot of the second climb at a quite a low speed. That makes it especially tough. But good for me."

    The rising finish straight also suits Gilbert, who won two stages at the recent Vuelta a Espana and wore the leader's red jersey for five stages. "I also saw the testing uphill finish.I think I've got a good chance," he said. "I know that I won't necessarily have to attack on the final climb and I also know I have a great opportunity to win a possible sprint.”

    Belgian teammate Kevin De Weert also thinks Gilbert can win it. "This is a course tailored to Gilbert. I just hope that it's hard enough to cancel out the Hushovd-types," he said.

    Gilbert was relaxed and fresh after a few days in Australia, even laughing off an attack from a bird while out training.

    "I was riding along the coastline on my own when an unidentifiable object brushed past me. I actually looked around and saw a large bird flying away," he said.

    "Now I understand why cyclists here ride around with antennae on their helmets. But I do not intend to do that."

  • Nibali ready for attacking role at world championships

    Nibali puts his helmet on for his training ride
    Article published:
    September 25, 2010, 11:26 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Vuelta winner given key role in Italian team

    Vuelta a Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali is not one of the team leaders in the Italian team for the world championships but is set to play the vital role of late attacker as Italy hopes to eliminate the sprinters and split the field before the finish.

    Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has come under fire for not including a sprinter in his team but after a second day of training on the course in Geelong, the Italian team seems designed for an aggressive race on the short climbs of the finishing circuit in Geelong.

    As winner of the Vuelta, Nibali could have expected a protected role in almost any national team. However he is not a fast sprinter and so is ready to work for his Italian teammates Filippo Pozzato, Giovanni Visconti and Luca Paolini.

    "It's a fast course but the two climbs are tough," Nibali told Gazzetta dello Sport after training.

    "In the end it'll be testing course, especially if it's windy and nervous on the first part of the race (from Melbourne to Geelong). It reminds me of the world championships in Salzburg, where Bettini won his first of two world titles."

    Nibali's role will be to split the peloton with strong attacks on the short, steep climbs, and get rid of riders such as Mark Cavendish, Oscar Freire and Thor Hushovd. Ideally he would drag a small group clear that includes a fast finishing teammate.

    "Perhaps I could try a solo attack but there would be a huge risk of taking a small group clear and then getting beaten in the sprint," he explained.

    "It'd make more sense to attack with another rider, some one like Visconti, who is fast in a sprint and offers more guarantees of success."

    Nibali has been racing since January but insists he is not burnt out after a long season.

    "I started my season with the idea of going all the way to the world championships. I came out of the Vuelta on cloud nine and I've recovered well. Now I'm 100% focused on the worlds," he...

  • Time is running out for Bbox Bouygues Telecom

    Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
    Article published:
    September 25, 2010, 19:02 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Voeckler sets Monday deadline as Bernaudeau hopes to secure sponsor

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau has until Monday afternoon to secure a main sponsor for the 2011 season. If he fails to find a new backer, key rider and current French national champion Thomas Voeckler will decide which of two other offers he will take up for the 201 season. If he decides to leave, it will be the final blow to Bernaudeau's chances of survival.

    "I'm in contact with several teams and I've got to give them answer on Monday night," Voeckler told the Ouest France newspaper, setting a rapidly approaching deadline for Bernaudeau to find a backer.

    He also told l'Equipe: "If Jean-Rene finds a sponsor, there's no question [about staying] but I'm starting to think of the worst possible outcome. Unfortunately I can't wait a week longer."

    According to reports in the French media, Voeckler has offers from Cofidis and the growing Saur-Sojasun team. Both teams would love to sign Voeckler and so secure their invitation for the 2011 Tour de France and other leading races on the international calendar.

    "I've got a preference but I haven’t made up my mind yet," he told l'Equipe, admitting that he would prefer to stay with a French team.

    "It's not about the money, I've got a certain idea about the practice of my sport. For sure I've soon got to chose and there are one or two offers that interest me."

    Caisse d'Epargne to the rescue?

    Bernaudeau spent Friday afternoon in his office at the Bbox Bouygues Telecom Service Course in the heart of the Vendée region. The central coastal region of France is a key co-sponsor of the team and will host the start of the Tour de France in 2011. On Sunday the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team will ride the Tour de Vendée, their home race, with doubts about the future growing darker and darker.

    Yet Bernaudeau refuses to give up hope. Ouest France has suggested that his links to...

  • BMC Racing signs Tim Roe

    Tim Roe (Trek-Livestrong) best young rider on a descent
    Article published:
    September 25, 2010, 22:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian eager to be teammates with compatriot Cadel Evans

    The BMC Racing Team has signed Tim Roe for the 2011 season, adding to its growing roster of promising young riders. Roe joins American Taylor Phinney as the second rider to sign with the Pro Continental team this week

    The 20-year-old Australian, who spent the 2010 season with the Trek-Livestrong squad alongside Phinney, said several factors contributed to his decision to move to BMC, including the opportunity to be a teammate of compatriot Cadel Evans.

    "The way the team is growing bigger and bigger every year is exciting," Roe said. "Already it is one of the best teams in the world. It's going to be fantastic to be able to race alongside Cadel and help him out."

    Jim Ochowicz, team president, said Roe will learn from and mix well with the team's veterans. "Tim is one of the rising young stars of the future," Ochowicz said. "He'll fit comfortably with the other neo-pros we've signed."

    Directeur sportif John Lelangue said the acquisitions of Roe, Taylor Phinney and Belgian Yannick Eijssen are long-term investments. "They'll ride without any pressure next season," Lelangue said. "We will put Tim and Yannick in the one-week stage races where they can learn from our leaders. The results will come in two or three years for those three guys."

    Roe showed his potential this year, wearing the King of the Mountains jersey for two days at the Santos Tour Down Under in January. He finished second overall at the Internationale Thüringen-Rundfahrt in Germany in June and placed 11th overall at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in August. He targeted this month's Tour de l'Avenir, but crashed on stage 2 and later abandoned.

    "I was set for a good ride and felt good, but I ended up on the ground there," Roe said. "Unfortunately, that ruined my hopes of competing in the world championships."