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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 30, 2010

Date published:
December 30, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Blaudzun named as Sports Director for Christina Watches

    Michael Blaudzun (CSC) showing good form
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 10:07 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    First employee for Rasmussen's team

    Michael Blaudzun is the first new employee for the new team Christina Watches. The former Saxo Bank rider will have overall responsibility for sports developments, the team said in a press release.

    Blaudzun, 37, was a teammate of Michael Rasmussen at Team CSC in 2002. The Christina Watches team is being built around Rasmussen.

    "It's a great challenge because it is a little late to start to build a new team,” he told Ekstra Bladet. “But it is a challenge. I am ready to go and I am looking forward to getting started in earnest.”

    "It's nice that someone is there in these times to take the initiative to create a new team, and I would love to help.”

    The first thing that the team must do is arrange its financials and sponsorship contracts in order to register the team, with furious activity going on behind the scenes, Blaudzun explained. "We are about to get a handle on everything. That includes riders and staff.”

    Blaudzun was most recently sports director at Team Designa Kitchen, which folded at the end of this season due to a lack of sponsors.

  • Cavendish stronger on the road than in testing says Axel Merckx

    Procycling always get the best out of Cavendish at photoshoots. This took place in October in our London studio
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 10:42 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian recalls incident from time at T-Mobile

    Mark Cavendish’s former teammate Axel Merckx has lauded the Manxman’s mental strength and recalled how the young Cavendish’s performances on the road greatly outstripped his pre-season test results. The duo rode together at T-Mobile in 2007, Merckx’s final season as a professional. The Belgian is now directeur sportif of the Trek-Livestrong team.

    “That January, during our first training camp in Mallorca, we had to undergo some specific tests on endurance and strength,” Merckx told DH.be. “Cavendish was very disappointed to hear it said by the trainer that his test results weren’t worthy of a ProTour rider. And it’s true that his tests were lower than everybody else!”

    Merckx sought to encourage Cavendish by citing the example of his former Mapei teammate Johan Museeuw, who had delivered similarly unimpressive test scores in his time but remained a redoubtable performer on the road.

    “To cheer him up, I told him that a certain Johan Museeuw had once faced the same nonsense at the famous Mapei Centre, one week before his most important period but that hadn’t stopped him from winning Dwars door België masterfully,” Merckx said.

    “Tests are all well and good but they don’t take into account one thing – the head! A little later, Mark easily won the GP Van Steenbergen, beating Robbie McEwen. The young man had apparently received my message loud and clear."

  • Malori targets Italian TT title

    Adriano Malori (Lampre-Farnese Vini)
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 11:43 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Lampre-ISD rider looking to build on solid debut season

    Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) is targeting the Italian time trial title in 2011. The former Under 23 world time trial champion impressed against the clock during his first season as a professional and he is now looking to turn strong performances into victories.

    “It will be my main objective for the coming season,” Malori said of the Italian time trial championship to Cyclismactu.net. “All specialists aspire to being national time trial champion, but maybe [reigning champion] Marco Pinotti will be the strongest again…”

    While Malori took third place in the 2010 Italian time trial championships, many of his best performances last season came over shorter distances, such as in the prologues of the Critérium du Dauphiné (7th) and the Tour de France (14th). However, he insists that he is not a prologue specialist.

    “Psychologically, I have no problem with the distance,” Malori said. “I do suffer more when the race is long, especially when it’s a time trial of over 40km but I think that you acquire endurance in time trials with age. So given that I’m only 22, I can’t be at my maximum yet. I have no worries in that regard.”

    World Under 23 time trial champion in 2008, Malori is well aware that his greatest chances of victory come against the clock, but he also harbours ambitions of progressing in short stage races.

    “It’s possible that I could be competitive in the short stage races where there aren’t real mountains and you make the difference in the time trial, like the Tour of Bavaria or the Eneco Tour,” Malori said.

    The young Italian has already tasted action at one of the Grand Tours and he battled bravely to finish the Tour de France as Lanterne Rouge in his debut season as a professional.

    “I didn’t want to abandon even though I had two big crashes during the second and third...

  • Kemp confirms signing with Verandas Willems

    You beauty: David Kemp (Fly V Australia) punches the air and takes out stage two from Rohan Dennis (Jayco/AIS).
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 11:49 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Former Pegasus signee looking forward to Belgian races

    David Kemp is the latest Pegasus Sports rider to find a team for 2011. The Australian announced that he signed with Verandas Willems on Christmas Eve. He added that the Belgian team was also looking to add another Pegasus rider.

    Kemp signed a one-year contract with the Professional Continental team, and said that he had been in discussions with the team for several months. It will be his first professional experience on a European team. He most recently rode for the Continental-ranked team Fly V Australia.

    The spot was not easy to come by, he admitted to SBS.com. “The biggest deal they had was having an Australian rider on their squad, they didn’t think it was to their advantage. I said [to my manager] to try again, I’m really excited and I’d take any opportunity that they’d offer.”

    Kemp will open the season at the national road championships (January 6-10). He had hoped to ride the Tour Down Under (January 19-24) on a composite Australian squad, but it clashes with his new team's training camp in Spain January 13-25.

    “If I get a spot in Down Under, I’m still not confirmed there, but if I go really well at nationals I might get a spot there which means I might arrive late to the training camp or miss it altogether,’’ he said.

    The Australian is looking forward to riding in support at the Belgian Classics. “The opportunity there is to race the races I’ve always wanted to, the real hard men’s races, and see what I can do.”

    Later in the season he will look to take his own chances. “It’s pretty structured from what they want from me which is to be a worker in the early classics, which I’m happy to do because they’re the classics that all the Belgian riders are chasing.

    “I’ll get my chances in the later classics, the ones in April. They said we’ll give you a lot more...

  • Zolder and Antwerp aiming to host Tour de France start

    The Tour de France Grand Depart 2012 will be in the Ardennes
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 12:23 GMT
    By:
    Barry Ryan

    Belgian bids may have to wait until 2018

    While Liège is set to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2012, two other Belgian locations are believed to be in the running for the same honour later in the decade. The Zolder race track, scene of the 2002 world championships, is planning to bid to host the start of the Tour, as is the city of Antwerp.

    Koen Monu, organiser of the Zolder cyclo-cross, said that he has met with both the Zolder circuit director Thierry Flandre and representatives from Tour de France organisers ASO to discuss the possibility of bringing the race to Zolder.

    “We wanted to know if the name and the fame of the circuit itself are strong enough for such an event to be assigned to it,” Monu told GVA.be. “If not, we will involve a large city that would carry more clout. I hope to find out the ASO’s attitude in this regard shortly.”

    If the Zolder bid were successful, it is understood that the circuit would host a prologue and the opening road stage.

    Meanwhile, Het Nieuwsblad reports that representatives from Antwerp have also met with the ASO in order to discuss a potential Tour de France Grand Départ. However, Antwerp will have to wait until at least 2018 to host the Tour as a number of other cities, both in France and elsewhere, have already expressed their desire to host the race. It has already been confirmed that the Tour will begin in Liège in 2012 and in Corsica in 2013.

     

  • Anzà and Pavarin sign for Vacansoleil-DCM

    Marcello Pavarin (Colnago - CSF Inox)
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 19:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mol confirmed for 2011 season

    Vacansoleil-DCM has announced the arrival of Italian riders Santo Anzà and Marcello Pavarin for the 2011 season. The team also confirmed that Dutchman Wouter Mol has extended his contract for an additional year.

    “These riders are capable of racing in different kind of races,” Vacansoleil-DCM manager Daan Luijkx said. “If you look at the current team and possible program the team needs riders who can help out the leaders in the big races. At other moments the riders have to be able to get a result themselves. In 2010 we had 19 out of 23 riders reaching at least one top-3 position, we want to keep that record."

    Anzà joins the Dutch squad from Ceramica Flaminia. The Sicilian’s most notable result as a professional was victory in the 2008 Brixia Tour and he also finished 10th in the 2005 Tour of Lombardy. Anzà will be reunited with his erstwhile Ceramica Flaminia teammate Riccardo Riccò at Vacansoleil.

    24-year-old Marcello Pavarin rode for Colnago-CSF in 2010 and brings the number of Italian riders in Vacansoleil’s roster up to seven. Both Anzà and Pavarin have signed one-year contracts with their new squad.

    Meanwhile, Wouter Mol’s contract extension comes at the end of a mixed year. He impressed in winning the Tour of Qatar in February but the second half of his season was ruined when he contracted the CMV virus.

  • Roberts heads powerful UniSA team at Tour Down Under

    Luke Roberts (Milram) won the Tour of Murcia's fourth stage into Alhama de Murcia
    Article published:
    December 29, 2010, 23:32 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian pro stars line up in quality composite squad

    Luke Roberts will head up a powerful UniSA squad for January's Santos Tour Down Under, the Olympic gold medallist joining the likes of FdJ pro Wesley Sulzberger and Skil-Shimano rider Mitchell Docker in a squad capable of contending for overall honours.

    Roberts has continued training throughout the recent Pegasus Sports drama, which saw the South Australian's chances of getting a Tour Down Under start with the Australian-based squad disappear. He has been handed another opportunity with the composite team which traditionally mixes it up with the leading pro outfits.

    The 33-year-old rode to fifth overall in this year's edition of the event with Team Milram and when he spoke with Cyclingnews before the start in January, was excited about being back racing in his home nation's biggest race held throughout the state from which he hails. It all came after several years of injury setbacks.

    And while the negotiations continue as to which team he'll be racing for in 2011, this opportunity means he'll be back amongst the world's best in the year's opening ProTour event.

    As is normally the case for the UniSA squad, the team's composition is an exciting mix of youth and experience, with the aforementioned Roberts, Sulzberger and Docker joined by powerful youngsters Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge, plus another Pegasus rider, Jonathan Cantwell. The final starter will be decided following the Australian Open Road Championships, held in Ballarat, Victoria, January 6-11.

  • Walker remains optimistic about Pegasus' future

    You're kidding me aren't you, how good is this: Johnnie Walker (Footon Servetto) from Australia can't believe his luck as the Miss World entrants line up behind him.
    Article published:
    December 30, 2010, 1:12 GMT
    By:
    Les Clarke

    Former Footon-Servetto rider confident of Continental ambitions

    Former Footon-Servetto rider and Pegasus Sports recruit Johnnie Walker believes that the Australian pro team project can fourish in a European Continental setting, despite the setbacks it has suffered in recent months.

    The 23-year-old Victorian has enjoyed mixed fortunes in 2010; having signed with the aforementioned ProTour squad for the season and enjoyed success in his neo-pro year, which included 10th in stage 13 of the Vuelta a España. The changing landscape in which Mauro Gianetti found his squad led to Walker entering discussions with Pegasus Sports' Ed Beamon late in the season, however.

    "I'd been talking with Footon during the year and they were pretty happy - we obviously started talking about the following year but then I did the Tour of Hainan - which I really rode just to go and finish the season because most guys didn't really want to go to China - and I ended up second overall," Walker told Cyclingnews.

    "Fly V was there and I spoke a bit with Ed Beamon; I'd spoken with him briefly before and when he talked about it [the Pegasus Sports project], it all sounded pretty exciting - that's how I first came into the Pegasus fold. I was quite late onto it, which is why most people don't even know I was there - I was the 25th and last rider signed."

    When Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White announced the project's major backer had jumped ship earlier this month and the team was denied a ProContinental licence, it left Walker in a precarious predicament and decisions had to be made. Eventually his love of the sport dictated which direction he wanted to take.

    "When it looked like I maybe had no team I thought about racing back in the lower levels or maybe stop cycling straight away," Walker revealed. "There are other things in the world I can do. That's the nice thing - I have a very supportive family and I could do whatever I wanted to do. My brother's done pretty well doing what he's doing, but obviously if...