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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 23, 2010

Date published:
December 23, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Tech tidbits: Fizik sells limited edition Antares saddles for charity

    Vincenzo Nibali (l) and Ivan Basso.
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 21:40 GMT

    Basso and Nibali contribute to charity

    Fi'zi;k is to sell 50 limited edition saddles autographed by Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso and Vuelta a España champion Vincenzo Nibali to raise funds for charity.

    It's hoped that each of the Antares saddles, with braided carbon rails, will raise at least €200 (£170) for Insieme si può, which fights hunger, poverty and underdevelopment in Africa.

    It's a charity close to the heart of Barbara Bigolin, owner of Fi'zi;k and its parent company Selle Royal. She hosted a charity evening at her home earlier this month where the two pro riders were put to work signing the saddles (pictured).

    They'll have the charity's logo on their seats throughout the 2011 season to help raise awareness of its work. The limited edition saddles will be sold on Fi'zi;k's website next week.

  • L'Etape du California registration open
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 21:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Amateur challenge to take on Mt. Baldy

    Registration is now open for the first L’Etape du California, which will give amateur cyclists the chance to ride a stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

    Riders will take on stage 7, a tough 100-mile route from Claremont to the Mt Baldy Ski Area, which includes close to 10,000 vertical feet of climbing.

    Entry costs $95 before 15 January 2011, and $115 thereafter. The price includes a T-shirt, finisher medal, a custom Specialized water bottle and musette, a post-ride meal, neutral support, fluid and food stations, and chip timing. There's also a VIP package available for $250.

    For more information and to register, visit

  • Nys, Compton lead UCI 'cross rankings

    Sven Nys wins the Vlaamse Druivenveldrit in Overijse
    Article published:
    December 22, 2010, 22:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    When will world champion Stybar return?

    Three weeks into being sidelined by a knee injury, Zdenek Stybar, the reigning world champion, has slid from the top of the UCI's world rankings for cyclo-cross down to fourth. 

    Belgian champion Sven Nys claimed the lead after taking wins in the Vlaamse Druivenveldrit and GP Rouwmoer and second in the World Cup in Kalmthout.

    Niels Albert (BKCP Powerplus) climbed up into second despite failing to make the podium since the last rankings, while Kevin Pauwels (Telenet-Fidea) inched closer to Albert's tally with three podiums since the December 7 rankings.

    With a big block of points-heavy races coming, will Stybar make his return in Sunday's Zolder World Cup or Monday's Superprestige in Diegem, or will he continue to slide down the ladder as the rest of the riders gather points?

    "I will decide at the last minute," he told Sporza. Currently in the Czech Republic for the Christmas holiday, Stybar said he would return to Belgium on Saturday but would not say if he will race or not.

    Americans Jeremy Powers and Tim Johnson (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) remained in the top 10 despite the UCI delaying tallying up the points from the US national championships until the other nations hold their championships in January.

    In the elite women's field, Kalmthout World Cup winner Katie Compton moved back into the rankings lead, stepping over Sanne Van Paassen, while the Dutch rider moved up into second ahead of former rankings leader Daphny Van Den Brand.

    World champion Marianne Vos debuted on the list at 31st after taking third in her first appearance on the circuit this year in Kalmthout.

    Laurens Sweeck leads the men's junior rankings over German Yannick Eckmann and Lars Forster.

    Belgium topped the nations rankings for elite, U23 and junior men while the Netherlands remained the top nation in the women's field.

    UCI Cyclo-cross rankings as of December...

  • Gilmore and Honda team dare to Dream of defending title

    The winning Honda Women's Cycling Team of the 2010 Jayco Bay Classic.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 6:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Last year's Jayco Bay Criterium Series champions back for more

    Australia's premier women's cycling team, the Honda Dream Team, will be back to defend its individual and team titles at the 2011 Jayco Bay Criterium Series in Geelong from January 2-5, 2011.

    Following its dominance of the recent Honda Insight Women's International GP Series in NSW, the squad will be the team to beat in Geelong.

    "The Honda Dream Team is continuing to perform at a very high level this season, with each member of the team capable of winning races," said team leader and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rochelle Gilmore.

    "A member of the team won each of the five stages of the Honda Insight GP Series. We have the flexibility to change our strategy from race to race and not always win from me in a bunch sprint, which gives us the element of surprise. We all plan to be in peak form by January and the Honda Dream Team hopes to be very competitive at the Bay Criterium Series," she said.

    Megan Dunn, winner of two gold medals at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, has joined the Honda Dream Team for the Jayco Bay Crits. She joins reigning champion Rochelle Gilmore, as well as Peta Mullens, Tiffany Cromwell and Mel Hoskins.

    "Peta and Mel both won stages of the Honda Insight GP Series and we're thrilled to have Megan on board now as well," Gilmore said. "We have a strong team and we look forward to defending our titles from this year."

    The 2011 Jayco Bay Crits will commence with an afternoon race at Geelong's Eastern Park on Sunday January 2, with races held at Portarlington on January 3, Ritchie Boulevard on January 4 and the final race staged at Williamstown on January 5.

  • Extra climbs and cobbles added to 2011 Tour of Flanders and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

    Fabian Cancellara flies up the Kapelmur at the Tour of Flanders.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 9:54 GMT
    Hedwig Kröner

    Flemish organiser revamps the Ronde and Belgian opening Classic

    The routes of the 2011 Tour of Flanders and the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the opening race of the Belgian season, have been changed, with five new hills added to the Flanders route, while the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will cover a new two-kilometre section of cobbles three times.

    The Tour of Flanders race organiser Wim Van Herreweghe revealed that the route of the famous one-day Classic held on April 3 will include five more climbs than this year's route.

    During the long ride between Brugge and Meerbeke, the following climbs will be added in 2011: the Tiegemberg, the Nokereberg, the Rekelberg, the Kruisberg and the Valkenberg. All of these hills have already featured in the Ronde in previous years but were omitted this year.

    Four of the climbs are located before the Oude Kwaremont, which is traditionally the first break-up point of the race. Shortly after, the Valkenberg will replace the Berendries. The rest of the parcours remains unchanged, as the riders will race along the Tenbossestraat to Geraardsbergen, where Fabian Cancellara opened the decisive gap to Tom Boonen this year to set up his first victory at the Tour of Flanders. The Bosberg will again be the 17th and last climb of the race before the finish in Meerbeke.

    Omloop gets facelift by Van Petegem

    The 2011 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad route has also been revised, with the Haaghoek road in Horebeke the new centre of the race. This two-kilometre long cobblestone section will be tackled three times in next year's race, after race organiser Van Herreweghe conspired with former Classics specialist Peter Van Petegem to design the new route.

    The Haaghoek is two kilometres long and flat, but covered in nasty cobblestones. Combined with a new sequence of climbs after it, next year's Omloop may prove to be harder than usual.

    "Van Petegem chose the cobblestone trilogy of the Haaghoek, the Leberg and the Molenberg as an introduction to the relatively flat...

  • Porte to lead Saxo Bank-SunGard at Tour Down Under

    Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) was all smiles at the start line
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 9:56 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Giro d'Italia sensation looks to do well in homeland race

    Richie Porte will lead the Saxo Bank-SunGard team in the Tour Down Under next month It will be the Australian's second appearance in his homeland race but his first as team leader of Bjarne Riis' team.

    "Porte has come a long way since he competed at our race in 2008 with the UniSA-Australian national team," race director Mike Turtur said.

    Porte, 25, burst onto the scene in his neo-pro year of 2010 in the Giro d'Italia. He wore the leader's maglia rosa for three days and finished seventh overall in his first Grand Tour, as well as winning the best young rider ranking.

    "For Porte to win the young rider classification and to lead the Giro d'Italia for three stages is an exceptional achievement in a Grand Tour, especially in his debut year as a professional. He's a huge talent and could be Australia's next big hope for the Grand Tours after Cadel Evans retires."

    The Saxo Bank-SunGard line-up for the Tour Down Under will also include fellow Australian Baden Cooke and Argentinean sprinter Juan Jose Haedo. "Both Cooke and Haedo are great sprinters and their presence adds to the strongest field of sprinters ever assembled at the Santos Tour Down Under," Turtur said.

    "Saxo Bank-SunGard is coming to Adelaide with a very strong team and some great sprinters and they are obviously hoping to have a successful start to their WorldTour season."

    Saxo Bank-SunGard for the Tour Down Under: Richie Porte (AUS), David Tanner (AUS), Brian Vandborg (DEN), Juan Jose Haedo (ARG), Sebastian Haedo (ARG), Nicki Sorensen (DEN) and Baden Cooke (AUS).

  • Bruyneel happy with RadioShack training camp work

    RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel in Calpe, Spain.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 10:21 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    US team to unveil new jersey for 2011

    Team RadioShack may not be the favourite to win the Tour de France in 2011, but "the energy is good and the morale is high" in the team, according to the latest blog from team manager Johan Bruyneel.

    One surprise for the new season will be a new kit design. "In the next few weeks, we'll be debuting the 2011 jerseys (yes, different than this year and different than what a lot of other teams are doing … I think you'll like it),“ Bruyneel wrote on his personal website.

    The team has had two training camps in recent weeks, one in the US for the American riders, "and the other in Europe for everyone else. Thought I prefer to have everyone together, it was just easier for the Americans to stay closer to home," Bruyneel wrote.

    The training camp in Europe including "quality training rides, some fun team-building activities (hiking and riding go-carts)," and the usual talks with riders about goals and racing schedules.

    "It's always nice to see everyone again after the break and also give the new faces the chance to meet everyone and gel with the team. Though we won't be one of the favourites at the Tour de France this year, it hasn't taken away from the team's motivation to win races and make a statement … The energy is good and the morale is high!"

    The team will open the 2011 season at the Tour Down Under. "It will be Lance's last international race, so it will be a good one to catch," Bruyneel said. 

    The riders not competing in Australia team will attend a training camp in Mallorca before riding the Challenge Mallorca races in early February.

  • Van Houts' B-sample also positive for Clenbuterol

    Rudi van Houts (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
    Article published:
    December 23, 2010, 10:44 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Dutch cycling federation suspends national mountain bike champion

    Rudi van Houts' B-sample has also returned a positive result for banned substance Clenbuterol, and the Dutch cycling federation (KNWU) has suspended the mountain biker.

    Van Houts's A sample tested positive immediately after returning from a trip to Mexico in late October, and the rider claimed that it was due to contaminated meat which he ate there. There have been several cases of Clenbuterol positives in recent months, amongst which the one of 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

    The Koninklijke Nederlandsche Wielren Unie announced that Van Hout was suspended until further notice. "The next steps will be the disciplinary procedure. The KNWU gives Van Houts the opportunity to prove his innocence," it said.

    Van Houts is said to have been fired by his team, Mujltivan Merida. He is the reigning Dutch mountain bike champion.

    The 26-year-old has said he will fight he charges. “I'm going to do everything I can to prove I am innocent,” he said, and has already given a sample for a hair analysis test.