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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 10, 2009

Date published:
December 10, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Sprinter Kersten finally makes the road transition stick

    Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) handled the slick roads well to carry on for the win.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 0:05 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Australian glad track days are “done and dusted”

    After several years plagued by injury and misfortune 2006 Commonwealth Games kilo champion Ben Kersten has enjoyed a season characterised by growth, development and success. He's optimistic about his 2010 prospects and goes into this weekend's Cronulla International Grand Prix with the best chance of taking out the event on home turf.

    Kersten has been aiming for a transition from the track to the road for the past three years, but a combination of injury and a lean run of results in the road races he has contested have held him back. His win in the US Pro Criterium Championship - albeit without the reward of the national champion's jersey - have given him the confidence to continue his move to the pavement.

    "It's a pretty big deal over there - I guess it's the second most important race behind the national championship road race," Kersten said of the US national criterium championship. "Wearing the [national champion's] jersey in America - particularly the US ones - is pretty huge, especially for the team at presentations and call ups before each race. There's a lot of promotion.

    "I knew it was big but when I was there and won it I realised that it's a bit bigger than what I had previously thought,” he said. “I hadn't really followed road racing before and I didn't really know that much about it. It gave me confidence to keep going with what I'm doing."

    Fly V Australia now boasts the Australian criterium champion - Bernard Sulzberger - and the man who will wear the jersey of US national criterium champion, John Murphy, as he rides alongside the likes of George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan at BMC Racing in 2010. Despite the obvious boost to his self-belief, Kersten isn't getting carried away by the success, especially at this weekend's Cronulla International Grand Prix.

    "This year I've got a good road season under my belt, so I'm almost on the same level [as the other road professionals] to be able to cope...

  • Armstrong vs. Contador 2.0: Rivalry, but no distraction

    Lance Armstrong at his first official RadioShack press conference in Arizona on Tuesday. He said the team will share leadership in 2010.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 0:19 GMT
    Laura Weislo

    Bruyneel, Armstrong clear the air on "personality conflict"

    The story of the intra-team rivalry between Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador during this year's Tour de France was perhaps the biggest cycling story of the year, but now that the two have gone separate ways Armstrong is looking to avoid letting their personality differences become a distraction from his goals in 2010. At the Radioshack team camp in Tucson, Arizona this week, Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel spoke extensively about the heavily reported conflict, how the press inflated its severity, and how being on separate teams will change the dynamic of their rivalry.

    Despite the difficulties, Armstrong surprisingly said that he wouldn't change the experience at this year's Tour, and that, in a way, the "personality conflict" was good for cycling because of the attention it brought to the sport.

    "Over the last 10 years there was always been this built in conflict with Jan [Ullrich] ... and later [Joseba] Beloki," he said, recounting the reports in the pre-Tour build ups comparing his preparation to that of his competitors and likening it to the great rivalries in other sports. "There's always a rivalry - that's what people want, it's what they pay attention to, it is why they sit in front of their TV screens to watch on game day.

    His run-ins with Contador were of a different quality - a battle for supremacy he politely called "a personality conflict". "Not to say my personality is good or bad, or his is good or bad. We're on separate teams now, I'm sure he's glad he went left and I'm glad I went right, I wouldn't change the experience,” said Armstrong. “I wanted to do what I wanted to do, but I was loyal to Johan and I had to be there."

    Even five months after the Tour and despite the team's success in getting both riders onto the final podium and winning the teams classification, the battle between cycling's two giants still gets press. Bruyneel hoped to play down some recent reports of him being critical of the...

  • Columbia-HTC to field six-man team at Australian championships

    Australian time trial champion Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) failed to make the top 10.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 0:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    American squad hoping to avoid repeat of 2009

    Columbia-HTC will field six riders, including four Australians, at January’s Australian Open Road Championships, according to race organiser Caribou Publications. The ProTour team will be looking to avoid a repeat of 2009 where it lost the title to Drapac-Porsche’s Peter Macdonald, despite having two of its riders in the three-man sprint for victory.

    After finishing second in the road race this year Michael Rogers will return for another attempt at the title and to defend his time trial title. Tasmania’s Matthew Goss will join Rogers at the Ballarat race and should prove useful in the team’s title bid. The pair will be joined by compatriots Mark Renshaw and Leigh Howard.

    While that quartet alone is a strong showing, Columbia-HTC will also field German champions Andre Greipel and Bert Grabsch. The duo will be in Australia preparing for the ProTour opening Tour Down Under, to be held in Adelaide later that month.

    Race organiser John Craven was excited to announce Columbia-HTC’s strong presence at the event. “The field quality so far is shaping as the best ever, which is extremely exciting,” said Craven.

    Columbia-HTC will also have a rider present in the elite women’s race, with Germany’s Judith Arndt returning to contest the Victorian event. Arndt contested this year’s event, finishing in 12th place.

  • Fleeman secures Raleigh ride

    Dan Fleeman (Cervélo TestTeam) is hoping to help his trade teammates at the British championships
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 0:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    10 man line-up complete with Fleeman’s signing

    Daniel Fleeman’s battle to find a team for 2010 has come to an end, with the British rider signing for the newly formed Raleigh squad. Fleeman takes the rider tally to 10 for Raleigh, which has applied for International Cycling Union (UCI) Continental status.

    Fleeman will lead the squad, managed by Chris Truett, alongside countryman Tom Barras. Fleeman’s signing is a big coup for the team, which held its first training camp at the weekend in England’s North West.

    After a strong showing with the An Post M. Donnelly Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team in 2008, Fleeman got a one-year deal with Cervélo TestTeam for 2009. A solid start to the season with the Professional Continental outfit was brought to a sudden end at Bayern Rundfahrt, where he crashed and broke his scaphoid.

    Fleeman struggled to regain his race fitness following the injury, leaving him with few runs on the board for the season which led to Cervelo not re-signing the rider. As Fleeman’s race fitness finally returned, so did the results with the rider winning the British Hill-climb Championship in Stocksbridge in October.

    Raleigh's 2010 roster:
    British riders:
    Dan Fleeman, Tom Barras, Dale Appleby, Liam Holohan, Daniel Shand, James Stewart, Richard Handley and Michael Cumings.
    International riders: Peter Smith (Australia), Julian Rammler (German).

  • Sky expected to announce Wiggins signing today

    Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 0:38 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    British team finally secures a Tour team leader

    Team Sky has called a press conference Thursday at which it is expected that it will unveil Bradley Wiggins as its latest signing. The 29-year-old British rider has raced for Garmin-Slipstream for just one year.

    Wiggins rode to fourth in this year’s Tour de France and has been the subject of rumour ever since, with Team Sky to launch in 2010 and still without a team leader for the Grand Tours.

    Wiggins had previously hinted that he would leave Garmin-Slipstream. In September, he told the BBC: "It's like trying to win the Champions League - you need to be at Manchester United, but I'm playing at Wigan at the moment so I have to make that step up."

    In August, Team Sky Directeur Sportif Scott Sunderland told Cyclingnews: "If Bradley is available then of course we're interested; he's British, so yes it's a possibility. If Wiggins himself wants to come then of course it could happen."

    In the last few months Garmin-Slipstream fought a drawn-out battle for Wiggins to remain with the team for 2010, having signed a two-year contract with the United States of America-based team at the end of 2008.

    Yet in the last a few weeks speculation ramped up as the tug of war escalated. "He has let it be known to me that he'd like to be with Sky," Garmin-Slipstream manager Jonathan Vaughters told BBC Sport. "I haven't spoken to him recently, but I think he has a strong desire to be part of the first UK pro team."

    Earlier in June Shane Sutton of Sky also told the BBC: "All these guys are going to move on to the Sky pro road team, maybe I shouldn't have said that!"

    Dave Brailsford told the Daily Telegraph earlier in the year: "Everybody in British cycling is absolutely thrilled about their success in the Tour de France and Brad and Cav are now two of the biggest names in the sport worldwide, let alone Britain," Brailsford said. "In our ideal scenario we would want at least one of them involved in our debut season, but both...

  • Sneak peek at Team RadioShack's new bikes for 2010

    Integrated graphics leave little question as to who the title sponsor is with Radio Shack logos even carrying over to the Bontrager wheels.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 8:24 GMT
    James Huang

    Trek releases first high-res images of Armstrong's ride

    Team RadioShack bicycle sponsor Trek is planning on releasing detailed information on the squad's new race machines for the coming season but we've obtained some sneak preview images in the meantime.

    We'll post additional specifications once they become available but several aspects are immediately apparent. In essence, the RadioShack bikes will differ little from the ones Trek supplied to Astana last year, again centered around the latest Madone 6-Series framesets with their more aggressive tube shaping, extra-wide BB90 bottom brackets with drop-in cartridge bearings, tapered and asymmetrical steerer tubes on the all-carbon forks, trick internal cable routing, and sleeker integrated seatmasts.

    Build kits will essentially be a two-company affair with SRAM providing Lance Armstrong and company with its top-end Red component groups and Trek house brand Bontrager to supply wheels and cockpit components.

    Unlike the more simplistic jersey designs previewed earlier, the frames will feature elaborate paint jobs with countless repeats of the RadioShack icon logo – no mistaking who the title sponsor is here. The Nissan logo is also prominently displayed on the chain stays – suggesting a not-insignificant level of support – and Armstrong's trademark 'Livestrong' yellow embellishes the seat stays.

    We've no word on complete bike weights just yet but based on Alberto Contador's similar build from last year, the new RadioShack machines just be just barely UCI-legal.

  • Gilbert wins Kristallen Fiets as best Belgian rider

    Philippe Gilbert cannot contain his excitement over winning the Giro di Lombardia.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 9:46 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Bruyneel, Broeckmans, and Vandenbergh also honoured

    Philippe Gilbert of Silence-Lotto was awarded the Kristallen Fiets award as the best Belgian cyclist of the year. It was the second consecutive year that the 27-year-old won the trophy, an award by the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

    Johan Bruyneel won the award as best team director, for the sixth time, and the best young rider was European Under-23 road champion Kris Boeckmans. Stijn Vandenbergh of Katusha won the appropriately-named Kristallen Zweetdruppel, or crystal sweat drop, as best helper.

    Gilbert won the trophy with 686 points, ahead of Tom Boonen (408) and cyclo-cross riders Niels Albert (330) and Sven Nys (204).

    The award came at the end of a season which started off dismally for the 27-year-old, whose first year with the Belgian ProTour team got off the very bad start. “The first three months at Silence-Lotto were the worst of my career. I felt really bad,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Nobody listened to me, nobody asked me anything. I sat down and asked myself, 'What the hell am I doing in this team? Why have I come here?' "

    It was “a losing fight,” Gilbert admitted until one day in April, when he finished third in the Rode van Vlaanderen.

    Things started getting better from then onwards. He took his first season win in the 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia, following it up with a stage win and the overall title in the Ster Elektrotoer. Gilbert skipped the Tour de France, and after riding the Vuelta a Espana as his second Grand Tour of the season, he finished sixth in the World Championships.

    Then his luck turned, and he went on a streak, winning the Coppa Sabatini, Paris-Tours, Giro del Piemonte and the Giro di Lombardia, all within nine days.

    Gilbert was presented the trophy by five-time winner Johan Museeuw. “It was one of the easiest choices in recent years,” Museeuw said, according to Sporza.

    “Few will...

  • Bradley Wiggins signs with Team Sky

    Bradley Wiggins poses with his steed for 2010, Sky's Pinarello Dogma
    Article published:
    December 10, 2009, 10:36 GMT
    Daniel Benson and Richard Tyler

    Wiggins signs four-year deal with Sky, leaves Garmin after one season

    Bradley Wiggins has signed a four-year deal with Team Sky that will see him ride with the new British squad until the end of 2013. The 29-year-old British rider leaves US squad Garmin-Slipstream after one season.

    "It has been an amazing year for me and my performance at the Tour de France has given me the drive to aim even higher," said Wiggins. "I know I can continue to develop and Team Sky is the perfect place to make that happen."

    Wiggins finished fourth overall at this year's Tour de France. A veteran of three Tours and four Giro d'Italias, the result marked a transition from a track and time trial specialist to general classification contender. Wiggins move to Sky will increases the likelihood that they will receive an invitation to the 2010 Tour de France from race organizers.

    "Brad will be at home at Team Sky. It's the perfect fit and he'll be a marquee rider for us," said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford. "He is an exceptional athlete and an excellent performer - at a great age. And he'll get better still.

    "Brad was a real revelation at this year's Tour de France. He has been hugely successful for British Cycling and his Olympic performances have brought wide recognition."

    A two-time winner of the Olympic gold medal in the men's individual pursuit (2004, 2008), Wiggins has raced as a road professional since 2001.

    After a false start with the short-lived Linda McCartney team, he spent six seasons with French professional squads: La Française des Jeux (2002-2003), Crédit Agricole (2004-2005) and Cofidis (2006-2007). He joined Team High Road in 2008 and, at the end of that season, agreed to join Garmin-Slipstream.

    Wiggins has become the seventh British rider in Team Sky's now 25-man roster. He joins compatriots Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Russell Downing, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome and Steve Cummings.

    Speculation ends

    Wiggins' deal with Team Sky...