Wiggins absent but expected to be part of Worlds selection
Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) are amongst thirteen British cyclists taking part in a two-day training camp in Mendrisio, Switzerland, this week as the nation prepares for next month's World championships.
Speaking to Cyclingnews from Mendrisio, the head of the British World championships campaign, Rod Ellingworth, said the camp has been designed to build rapport amongst the riders that will form the final squad.
"The whole idea is we want to win the world road race championships," he said. "Maybe not this year but we want to win it in the future and how do you do that? It's about getting the group together and motivating people. This camp is just part of that process."
Cavendish and Millar have joined Cervélo's Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond, Dan Fleeman and Daniel Lloyd, Barloworld riders Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings and Chris Froome, Ben Swift (Katusha), Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank), Ian Stannard (ISD) and Russell Downing (CandiTV) for the camp. On Wednesday they will complete the second of two days' training on the Worlds course. The group have also held discussions about strategy for the September 27 race.
"This is the first time the team has come together on this course. Obviously quite a lot of them have ridden it anyway, like at the Tour of Italy last year. There's been a couple of other pro races around this area in the last couple of years, so a lot of them are quite familiar with the area."
British Cycling will be able to select nine riders for the World championship road race after the International Cycling Union (UCI) published its latest World rankings on Monday. Great Britain placed eighth, safely within the top-ten cut off for nine-men Worlds representation. Ellingworth said although the team would seek to capitalise on its numeric advantage, the key to success for any nation was establishing the right combination of riders.
LPR Brakes Farnese Vini has dismissed Danilo Di Luca, effective July 23. The Italian had tested positive twice for the third generation blood booster EPO-CERA during this year's Giro d'Italia, where he finished in second place.
Di Luca “will also be held responsible for all damage” to the reputation of both the sponsor and the team said the squad's management company, BF Cycling Management, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport. The Italian newspaper also reported that BF Cycling Management has instructed its attorneys to commence legal proceedings.
The 33-year-old Di Luca tested positive on May 20 (stage 11) and May 28 (stage 18). The positive results were first announced on July 22 and Di Luca was immediately suspended from competition by the International Cycling Union (UCI). His B-samples were subsequently confirmed positive earlier this month by the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory in Paris.
Di Luca's hearing before the Disciplinary Committee of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is scheduled for August 26. He faces anywhere from a two-year to a lifetime suspension if the charges are upheld. He previously served a three-month suspension in 2007 for his involvement in the “Oil for Drugs” investigation.
September ride to benefit brain injury-related foundation
The Raisin Hope Foundation is hosting its third annual Raisin Hope benefit ride in Georgia on Saturday, September 5, and it's looking for more participants.
"If more people do not sign up for the Raisin Hope ride, we will have to cancel. As of now only 15 people are signed up," said a disappointed Rasin on the foundation's website where he is recruiting riders for the event.
The ride benefits the foundation, which was started by former professional Saul Raisin and raises funds to support brain injury research, connect individuals and families affected by brain injury and promote public awareness and understanding of disabilities resulting from brain injury.
Raisin crashed in a race on April 4, 2006. He endured a coma, substantial bodily damage, and a traumatic brain injury, but overcame odds to survive and recover, although he was unable to return to professional racing.
The ride begins at 8:00 am and starts at Prater's Mill in Dalton, Georgia.
German youngster and Sieberg to extend with Columbia
Tony Martin, one of the discoveries of this year's Tour de France, has rejected an offer to join Lance Armstrong's newly-formed Team RadioShack for the coming season. Martin said he would extend his contract with Team Columbia-HTC. Teammate Marcel Sieberg has also extended with Columbia for two more years.
The 24-year-old Martin, who wore the white jersey for awhile as the best young rider at the Tour de France, told Sport Bild, "An inquiry from Armstrong is of course complimentary. But Team Columbia is the best for my further development."
Martin's contract runs through 2010 and the extension will take him through 2011. "We have agreed verbally. Only the signatures are missing."
Martin has three wins this season including two individual time trials and the mountainous stage eight of the Tour de Suisse, in which he finished second overall. He also won the mountains jersey at both the Tour de Suisse and Paris-Nice. In the Tour de France, in addition to leading the young rider ranking for much of the three weeks, he finished second on the difficult Mont Ventoux stage, as part of a successful escape.
Sieberg extended his relationship with US-based Columbia-HTC for two years. He rode for Team Milram in 2007 before joining Columbia. The 27-year-old is a Classics specialist and sprinter, and was the team's highest finisher this year in Paris-Roubaix.
Caisse d'Epargne's Team Director Eusebio Unzué has confirmed his interest in signing two-time Tour de France winner, Alberto Contador, to the Spanish squad. Unzué told Spanish media on Tuesday that he was looking for a second sponsor in order to support the team's bid to recruit Contador from current squad, Astana.
"Signing [Contador] is feasible, but for the moment is difficult," Unzué told Spanish newspaper Diairo de Navarra. "He would have to be released from his contract with Astana. We are looking for a second sponsor to do that."
Unzué also revealed that Óscar Pereiro may leave the team as he battles ongoing fatigue and a lack of motivation. Pereiro has not raced since he abandoned the Tour de France on July 11. The 2006 Tour de France winner told Spanish newspaper Marca on Tuesday that he has considered retirement from the sport.
"I have nothing to hide," he said. "Coming to the end of my contract with Caisse d'Epargne I have three options: renew, change of scenery or quit. I am considering the latter possibility. If I can not find the motivation to continue riding a bike, I will retire."
The confirmation of Caisse d'Epargne's interest in Contador and news of Pereiro's possible exit come amid a storm of transfers in-and-out of the ProTour squad. Diairo de Navarra also reported that Unzué had plans to downsize the squad from 28 to 25 riders for 2010.
The team has confirmed that Joaquim Rodriguez, Marlon Perez and Anthony Charteau will leave the squad at the end of the season.
Last week, Italian Marzio Bruseghin signed on with the team for two years, while Former French champion Christophe Moreau signed a one-year deal. Spanish press agency EFE reports that the team is also keen to aquire the services of Colombian Maurizio Soler (Barloworld) and Belarusian Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Columbia-HTC).
The Astana team will compete in the upcoming Tour of Missouri, but it will do so without star rider Lance Armstrong.
The seven-time champion and third place finisher in this year's Tour de France was already scheduled to attend a Livestrong fundraiser in Canada during the week the race is held, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
Several top names are scheduled to compete in the week long Tour of Missouri which begins September 7. Team Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish, George Hincapie and Michael Rogers as well as defending champion Christian Vande Velde will all be at the start in St. Louis.
Astana is expected to field a team led by Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer.
Four times over the Waseberg for the peloton in northern Germany
The sprinters will have their turn again, as the ProTour moves up to the flats of northern Germany and the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg on Sunday, August 16. The race usually ends in a mass sprint and will be expected to give the sprinters the chance they didn't have in the last one-day ProTour race in San Sebastián.
Being touted as favourite for the race is Andre Greipel of Columbia-HTC, who has had an astonishing 15 wins this season, despite missing three and a half months due to shoulder surgery. It is almost a home-town race for the German, who originally hails from nearby Rostock. Greipel came back from surgery to win every sprint he contested, until the recent Tour of Poland. There he didn't manage to win until the final stage, and said, “I have to make it up to my teammates.”
Last year's winner, Robbie McEwen, is tentatively scheduled to ride again, but don't expect him to repeat. He has only recently started racing again after recovery from serious injuries suffered in a crash in the Tour of Belgium the end of May. He will enter Vattenfall with only a few criteriums in his legs.
Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Gerald Ciolek (Milram) are also sprinters to keep an eye on. Milram will look to do well in its one 'home' ProTour race, and has another option with Fabian Wegmann. The latter traditionally does well in one-day races and although recent back problems have cast a cloud over his participation, if fit, he will be a contender. Silence-Lotto has several irons in the fire, with Philippe Gilbert, Greg van Avermaet and Jürgen Roelandts all expected at the startline.