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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, February 24, 2011

Date published:
February 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Feillu says Vacansoleil should never have signed Riccò

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) celebrates on the podium
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 13:48 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Frenchman dismisses rumours surrounding ProTeam status

    Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) has labelled Riccardo Riccò a “serial doper” and said that his team should never have signed the Italian. The Dutch squad parted company with Riccò last week amid allegations that his recent stint in hospital with a kidney ailment was caused by an autologous blood transfusion.

    “At first, we didn’t know why [Riccò had been hospitalised] and we said: ‘That’s s*** for him,’” Feillu told France Soir. “Even if he wasn’t my best friend, you could only have pity for him.”

    Once details from Modena began to take shape in the Italian press in the days after Riccò's initial illness, Feillu’s sympathy vanished rapidly.

    “He’s a serial doper,” Feillu said. “He can’t conceive of life in any other way.”

    Riccò tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and returned from suspension in March of last year. After winning the Tour of Austria in the colours of Ceramica Flaminia, Riccò switched to Vacansoleil before the end of the season and Feillu is adamant that his team should never have moved for the troubled rider.

    “If I had been manager of the team, I would never have signed a guy like that,” Feillu said.

    As well as recruiting Riccò, Vacansoleil-DCM also signed Ezequiel Mosquera as it prepared to move into the World Tour ranks. The Spaniard returned a positive test for Hydroxyethyl starch at the Vuelta a España, and

  • Rasmussen not welcome at Tour of Denmark

    Michael Blaudzun, Christina Hembo and Michael Rasmussen
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 14:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Christina Watches announces new sponsor and is looking for experienced riders

    Team Christina Watches-Onfone is determined that Michael Rasmussen will win the Tour of Denmark this year, but the Danish Cycling Union is equally determined that he will not be allowed in the race. The team also announced its new sponsor at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

    The new co-name sponsor is Onfone, the Danish-owned telecommunications firm, which claims to be the second-largest in the country, with over 250,000 customers.

    The details of their sponsorship were not announced, but their investment is said to be “millions.”

    The DCU has already said that Rasmussen would not be welcome at the Tour of Denmark, which it organizes. published minutes of the DCU's meeting on January 16, which quoted president Tom Lund as saying, “MR is the same person who tells the press that we are corrupt fools and wants us dead. The Board's experience is that MR tells his own version of things, which largely go to discredit the DCU. MR is running his own show and we will not be part of it.”

    The minutes also indicated that the team would be welcome without Rasmussen.

    That would not be acceptable, according to team owner Claus Hembo. “It is unthinkable that Christina Watches starts the Tour of Denmark without Michael Rasmussen,” he told

    "I think the probability that we will ride the Tour of Denmark is very high. We will obviously be out to show that we can ride strong, and I do not doubt that we can.

    "Actually I am sure that our objective is not to ride in the Tour of Denmark. Our goal is to win the Tour of Denmark with Michael Rasmussen.”

    Team still looking to add experience

    Meanwhile, the team's sporting director Michael Blaudzun admitted that the team is largely young and inexperienced. “We have many young riders on the...

  • Howman: More money in doping than heroin

    Director General of the WADA, David Howman
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 19:08 GMT
    Peter Cossins

    WADA chief also offers a new slant on the clenbuterol issue

    World Anti-Doping Agency director-general David Howman has described the trade in doping products as being more lucrative than the trade in heroin. Speaking at the European Union’s Sport Forum conference in Budapest, Howman said, "There is more money to be made [from doping products] because in many countries it is legal."

    Howman declared that it is WADA’s goal to persuade countries to introduce legislation that will prevent the sale of doping products in order to protect athletes and young people. “These substances are bad for our youth, for our elite athletes and for anyone who happens to buy them,” said Howman, who explained that they were unsafe because they are often produced without any regulatory supervision.

    “The mark-up can be anywhere from 10 to 100 times. You spend a dollar and you make $100. That’s a pretty good investment. They buy the raw materials and then they put them together in a kitchen laboratory.”

    The WADA chief also spoke about the repercussions of the clenbuterol-related doping case involving three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador. He said that WADA is waiting to see whether the UCI decides to appeal against the Spanish federation’s decision to overturn Contador’s ban for doping before deciding on its own course of action. He added that the organisations could decide on a joint appeal.

    Howman also offered an interesting perspective on the recent spate of positive tests for clenbuterol, suggesting that the use of steroids to boost the growth of cattle in China may have been to blame.

    “There seems to be some evidence that some beef in China may have been stimulated in their growth by the use of steroids. We have written to the Chinese minister to ask for a full explanation of what happens in the industry in China. We’re waiting for a response,” said Howman.

    A recent study by the WADA-accredited lab in Cologne...

  • Sneak peek: Colnago's new EPQ

    Colnago's new EPQ.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 2:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian manufacturer releases evolution of EPS

    Revered Italian bicycle manufacturer Colnago has released the latest incarnation of its Extreme Power frame, the EPQ. It follows last year's version of the bike developed in conjunction with veteran Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, the EPS.

    Hand built in Cambiago, the EPQ utilises tube and lug construction and features the C-HS semi-integrated headset system, which, according to Colnago, "uses an aluminium cup to hold the bearings and in our carbon fibre frame" and "maintains the all-important integrity of the carbon head tube with an aluminium sleeve".

    The company also claims this system "reduces weight, improves the looks of the bicycle and makes maintenance easier".

    It joins the C59 and the M10 in Colnago's 2011 range and shares the same seat stays as both of these models. The seat stays are far squarer in profile than any of their precedents; Colnago has dubbed the design q2 or 'Q-Stay'.

    Colnago has refrained from following the current trend towards thin or 'bent' offerings in this area of the bike and retained a more traditional shape, as is the case with most of the tubing on the EPQ.

    The EPQ also has internal cable routing for derailleur cables, making a Shimano Di2-specific version possible. It's available in matte black, white or a 'retro' red paint scheme and sizes 42, 45, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 and 58cm (sloping) - 52 to 65cm (trad) plus a custom version.

    For more information see Colnago's website or its Australian distributor

  • Chipotle to sponsor Slipstream developmental team in 2011

    The Team Chipotle jersey for 2011.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 9:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team Chipotle to run under Continental ranking

    Chipotle Mexican Grill will sponsor Slipstream Sport's development team this season. The Continental-ranked team will be known as Team Chipotle, Slipstream has announced.

    The team has already supplied Peter Stetina to the ProTeam Garmin-Cervelo, and will this year feature two-time US 23 cyclo-cross champion Danny Summerhill and Lachlan Morton, who finished sixth in this year's Tour de Langkawi.

    In addition, Kirk Carlsen will move down from the ProTeam “to continue to recover from illness” and will race with the Continental team this season.

    The team will be directed by former pro Chann McRae, who rode professionally from 1996 to 2003, winning the US road title in 2002.

    "2011 will be bike racing at its best, there will be epic battles in the mountains, on the pavé, and in the sprints," said McRae. "Our line-up gives us a very balanced and dynamic team. The guys worked hard this winter, and are very hungry for the season. "

    "When I started this team in 2005, my dream was to foster an environment where young riders could flourish," said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports. "Today I believe that dream has come to life. Chipotle has been, from the beginning of our relationship, a great sponsor that fully supports our mission of helping talented young riders climb the professional ranks. Together we have created the right dynamic for these young athletes to flourish. I'm proud of what all of our riders continue to achieve.

    The sponsorship also marks the return of Chipotle to the peloton. The Mexican restaurant chain has long been a sponsor of the ProTeam, serving as second name sponsor in 2007 and 2008.

    Team Chipotle for 2011: Alex Howes, Anders Newburry,...

  • Haselbacher retires after 15 years in the peloton

    Veteran rider Rene Haselbacher from Austria is Vorarlberg-Corratec's main man on the tour after spending seasons with Gerolsteiner and Astana.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 9:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Ex-Gerolsteiner best known for sprint crashes

    Rene Haselbacher has retired after 15 years a professional cyclist. The Austrian has moved to South Africa and does not plan to be involved in cycling.

    He 33-year-old turned pro in 1996, riding for small Austrian teams before joining Gerolsteiner in 1999. He stayed with the German team until 2006, and then rode for Astana in 2007 and 2008. He joined Vorarlberg-Corratec in 2009, but cancelled his contract with them last summer when the team was reduced to Continental status.

    Over the years, “Hasi” won both the Austrian road and time trial titles. In 2006 he won the overall title in the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt. In his career, he won stages in the Tour of Sweden, Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, Tour of Austria and the DEKRA Open.

    The sprinter was often known to fans for his crashes in finales and was often affected by injuries or illnesses, but he summed up his career by saying, “It was a very good time.”

  • Cunego dedicates Sardinia win to Sassi

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) after the finish.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 10:37 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Italian relieved to take first win since 2009

    Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) took his first victory in 17 months on Wednesday when he won stage two of the Giro di Sardegna, and the Italian dedicated the triumph to the memory of the late Aldo Sassi, who lost his battle with cancer in December.

    Cunego began working with Sassi at the Mapei Centre last autumn, and he was disappointed that his coach was not able to see the fruits of their collaboration before his death.

    “One day he put a hand on my shoulder and told me: ‘Try and win soon,’” Cunego told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Then he added: ‘Because I don’t have a lot of time left.’ So this victory is above all for him.”

    The stage to Nuoro also saw Cunego assume the overall lead, as he made the most of a sharp uphill finish on Monte Ortobene that was tailor-made for his uphill sprinting talents. He explained afterwards that he and his Lampre-ISD companions had earmarked the stage ahead of the race.

    “I wanted it and we prepared for it,” Cunego said. “For the first time this year, we raced only for me, and the squad rode to perfection: first by leaving the task of managing the race to Liquigas for [Peter] Sagan, and then by attacking the climb with Scarponi.”

    If Cunego benefited from Scarponi’s pace-setting on the front in the finale, his finishing sprint was all his own work. He had both the tactical nous and the strength to see off a stiff Liquigas-Cannondale challenge in the final 400 metres, as he reacted decisively when it was Eros Capecchi and not Sagan who made the first move.

    “I didn’t fall into the trap when Sagan left a gap to launch his teammate Capecchi,” Cunego said. “I...

  • Austria suspends Knopf for four years

    There was plenty going on this morning as the Arbo KTM team prepare for the stage.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 11:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rider ruled to have supplied another with doping products

    The Austrian National Anti-Doping Agency has suspended Michael Knopf for four years, for passing along a forbidden substance to another rider. It dismissed charges that Knopf himself bought or used doping products or methods.

    Knopf and two of this Arbö-KTM-Gebrüder Weiss teammates were all excluded from the Tour of Austria last year on suspicion of having violated anti-doping regulations. Hannes Gründlinger was suspended for six years on charges of ordering, buying, owning, using and distributing forbidden substances. Josef Kugler was given two years for blood doping.

    The NADA decided to ban Knopf for four years despite what it called “contradictory evidence.” It said that the evidence that Knopf gave forbidden substances to another rider “was conclusive and believable” .

    On the other hand, it ruled that the evidence that Knopf used forbidden substances or methods was inconclusive.

    The ban runs as of June 28, 2010, when he was first temporarily suspended.

    Knopf, 30, turned pro wit the Slovakian team Sava in 2005, and rode for Swiag in 2007, before joining the Arbö team, under various team names, in 2008.