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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 14, 2010

Date published:
January 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • UCI recommends temporary license for Lampre

    Lampre's 2010 ProTour registration was denied, putting the team's ProTour licence in jeopardy.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 16:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team's ProTour status still undecided ahead of Tour Down Under

    With the first ProTour race set to get underway next week, the International Cycling Union has recommended a temporary solution to the Lampre team's unresolved ProTour license application.

    The UCI has put forth a proposal for a provisional license, which would allow the Lampre team to race with a temporary registration, giving it until March 31, 2010 to resolve the "serious administrative non-compliances" which led to the rejection of its application in November.

    The proposal will be considered by the UCI's License Commission when it meets on Friday.

    "It is in cycling’s utmost interest and especially the riders and the entire team staff, that the UCI has intervened by putting forward a proposal for a provisional solution that it has submitted to the Licenses Commission," the UCI said in a press release.

    "If at the end of this provisional period, the situation of the Lampre team is judged as non compliant, the CUPT [ProTour council -ed.] will once again refer the matter to the Licenses Commission which will be asked to take a decision on the request to withdraw the license."

    The first ProTour race on the calendar, the Tour Down Under, is set to begin on January 18 in Adelaide, Australia.

    While ProTour licenses may be issued for several years at a time, the ProTour council requires teams to submit a yearly registration application. External auditors check that the team meets regulations, especially in regards to the administrative and financial regulations.

    Auditors Ernst & Young noted the non-compliances in the team's application in November. The team's situation was not resolved at the License Commission's meeting earlier this month.

  • Canadian women's UCI races canceled

    The last Montreal World Cup.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 17:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Montreal World Cup, Tour and Tour de PEI vanish

    The women's UCI calendar in North America was devastated today by the cancellation of three of only five races sanctioned by the international body. The Canadian Cycling Association announced today that the Montréal Women’s World Cup (May 29th, 2010), the Tour de Grand Montréal (May 31st – June 3rd, 2010) and the Tour de PEI (June 6th-10th, 2010) will be canceled after the organizer retired.

    The races formed the bulk of the UCI races in North America, with the only other road race being the Liberty Classic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the new La visite chrono de Gatineau in June.

    The CCA said in a statement that "an alternative UCI women's road event and date is under consideration".

    The Montréal Women's World Cup ran for 12 years, and has been the only Women's World Cup in North America in recent years. The Tour de Grand Montréal ran for 8 years and, emerged after the demise of the HP Women's Challenge to become the largest women's UCI stage race event in North America. The Tour de PEI was relatively new, running only three years.

    The organiser, Daniel Manibal, had commented to Canadian Cyclist last month that sponsorship had been increasingly difficult to come by with the addition of the men's ProTour events to the Canadian calendar.

    Last year, the World Cup was won by Briton Emma Pooley, who escaped in the first lap and rode solo to the victory for over 100km. The Grand Tour du Montréal was won by Dutch rider Kirsten Wild, while the Tour de PEI was won by Canadian Tara Whitten.

    The CCA included a thank you to Manibal "and his organization team for their dedication to Women's cycling over the years. The sport is indebted to them for their hard work and support to make these events well known around the world".

  • Rasmussen still hunting for a 2010 team

    Michael Rasmussen on his stage-winning ride in Chihuahua.
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 18:34 GMT
    Cycling News

    Expert sees slim chances for Dane's return

    Michael Rasmussen's chances of returning to the peloton seem to be slipping away. The Dane still does not have a contract for this season.

    “I fear that Michael Rasmussen will be hard pressed to find a new team at the moment,” Danish television commentator and and former rider Rolf Sorensen told “Time is beginning to work against him in earnest, and I had really hoped that he would have been ready with a new team now."

    Rasmussen, 35, was leading the Tour de France 2007 when his Rabobank team removed him from the race for violating the anti-doping “whereabouts” requirements. He was subsequently suspended for two years, and was eligible to return in July 29.

    He rode the Vuelta a Chihuahua in Mexico last fall for Team Tecos Trek, winning the opening time trial and wearing the leader's jersey for three stages.

    Since then, he has been linked to various European teams at different levels, and has said he wants to return to the ProTour this year, but so far nothing has come of it.

    His name has also been connected with the blood doping scheme in Austria, where he has been named as the co-owner, along with Bernhard Kohl, of a blood centrifuge.

    “I don't hear Michael's name mentioned in my international network talks about changes in the riders' market,” Sorensen said. “Maybe it's because of the case from Austria, still buzzing from the authorities, and therefore scaring away interested teams.”

    Rasmussen's manager, Mads Frederiksen, said, “There is nothing new in terms of Michael Rasmussen's future. We're still in dialogue, but until there is something more concrete, we will have nothing to say.”

  • Van Den Broeck ready to fill Evans' shoes

    Jurgen Van Den Broecke
    Article published:
    January 13, 2010, 20:38 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Omega Pharma-Lotto's young Tour captain to target top-ten

    Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jurgen Van Den Broeck says he is ready for the pressure of a team captain at the start of a season which will see the 26-year-old aim for a top-ten overall finish at the 2010 Tour de France.

    Van Den Broeck's promotion to Tour team leader status has been accelerated by the departure of the team's previous general classification leader and current World Road Champion, Cadel Evans, at the end of last year.

    With a 7th place finish at the 2008 Giro d'Italia and a 15th place finish at the 2009 Tour on his palmares, Van Den Broeck told Cyclingnews he was confident he can make the next step up the Tour ladder.

    "All of the pressure is on me for the Tour now, but it's a big opportunity to show what I can do in the Tour," he said at his team's training camp in Majorca, Spain.

    "I've proven I can go top-ten in the Giro and now I will try for the same in the Tour. I'm also looking to the future; this year I'm 27, so I still have some years to improve. Cadel, too, started in this team by making his goal top-ten and then each year higher and higher. It's a year earlier that he left the team, but we'll make the best of it."

    Omega Pharma-Lotto Team Manager Marc Sargeant told Cyclingnews he, too, is confident his young charge can respond to the responsibility of leadership, but is conscious that there is no need to rush his progression any further. "In Belgium, they're all thinking the stress will kill him, but I don’t think so," he said.

    "He was prepared to work for Cadel for another year, we'd already agreed on that. Now, he has to prove for himself that he can have a good result. Last year's Tour gave him a boost of confidence because he discovered he can do more than he thought with the best guys in the Tour. You can do well in the Giro, but the Tour is another story, and now he's had that confirmation. He's full of confidence and I think he's going to do really...

  • Livestrong to donate 250,000 USD to Haiti

    Lance Armstrong zips up his Livestrong jersey and is ready to go.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 0:30 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Potential death toll prompts action

    Lance Armstrong has announced his charity, Livestrong, will add $250,000USD to the financial aid pouring into Haiti following yesterday’s earthquake. The donation came after Armstrong learned the death toll may exceed 100,000 after landing in Adelaide, Australia, where he is due to contest the Tour Down Under starting Sunday.

    “On behalf of Livestrong, we’ve decided to donate 250,000 US dollars,” said Armstrong, while sitting beside South Australia Premier Mike Rann. Armstrong said the donation was carried out by the United States of America’s Former “President Bill Clinton en route with a UN envoy and a staff, including Doctor Paul Farman”.

    “Haiti is a little country outside the US and I’m honoured we can do so for our neighbours”, Armstrong added. “Haiti didn’t need another problem added to the political turmoil and the poverty. The global community has to step up.”

    Armstrong landed in Adelaide on board his private jet, a Gulfstream from Mellow Johnny Airways. The plane’s tail number was N7LA, which references the number of Armstrong’s Tour de France wins and his initials.

  • Armstrong: RadioShack expects Down Under stage win

    Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia, and Lance Armstrong at their first press conference in Adelaide this year.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 4:32 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Texan in better form than 2009

    Lance Armstrong has outlined his expectations for Team RadioShack as it prepares for its first race together. Armstrong is expecting at least one stage victory when the team lines up next week for the ProTour-opening Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia.

    “We need to perform,” said the Texan. “If we leave without a stage win, I would be disappointed.”

    RadioShack’s entire executive team will fly in for the race, adding pressure to an already closely watched team debut. “We understand that this is a big commitment on their part,” Armstrong said after arriving in Adelaide with partner Anna Hansen and son Max.

    “I’m probably not here to win the overall classification of the race myself,” he admitted. “You win a race because you have an exceptional condition and because the course suits you. My condition is better than 12 months ago, but we learned that bunch sprints often dictate the race. As going strong uphill and sprinting is the recipe for winning here, I believe Andre Greipel and Allan Davis are again the favourites and I see Alejandro Valverde being competitive as well.”

    Armstrong arrived in Adelaide from Hawaii, where he’s been training since Christmas day. His longest ride recently was six hours in duration but Armstrong has been averaging three to four hours on the bike daily.

    “I haven’t raced since the Tour of Ireland in August,” he said. “My training data is good but it doesn’t tell me that I’ve become a sprinter to win the Santos Tour Down Under. I’ll use Willunga Hill to test myself but our overall ambition is to have a win in the team.”

    The RadioShack line up for the Santos Tour Down Under includes Daryl Impey, Jason McCartney, Yaroslav Popovych, Sébastien Rosseler and Tomas Vaitkus but Armstrong designated Gert Steegmans as its man to watch. “He will be a factor in...

  • Kemp taking opportunistic approach to Tour Down Under

    Team-mates Jonathan Cantwell and David Kemp are looking forward to riding in the UniSA squad at Tour Down Under.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 4:54 GMT
    Greg Johnson

    Cantwell to realise a dream in Adelaide

    David Kemp will join Fly V Australia team-mate Jonathan Cantwell in the UniSA-Australian National Team for next week’s Tour Down Under following his strong ride to second at Sunday’s Scody Australian Open Road Championships. Kemp was assured the position regardless of whether race winner Travis Meyer contested Tour Down Under, as Meyer already has a professional contract with ProTour outfit Garmin-Transitions.

    Both Kemp and Cantwell are looking forward to the chance to join the national team, which comes with the blessing of team owner Chris White. The duo will join riders like ISD’s Simon Clarke, Australian Under 23 Time Trial Champion Rohan Dennis and Trek-Livestrong rider Timothy Roe.

    “For me, it’s such a massive opportunity,” said Kemp. “It’s ProTour you just don’t get an opportunity to ride that kind of race unless you’re on a ProTour team, or a national team in this situation.”

    “It’s a bit of a dream come true, really,” added Cantwell. “It’s fantastic for both of us both individually and then also Fly V Australia. This opportunity doesn’t come around every day of the week, so you really take it with both hands and focus. We’ve both been training really hard since the start of December in preparation for the nationals to do really well there, so we know we’re in really good form and we’re both focused. It’s really a great way to start 2010.”

    Neither of the riders, who are attending a Fly V Australia team camp on the Gold Coast this week, know what will come of their one-off ProTour appearance. Kemp expects to just be aggressive as possible throughout the event, as Ritchie Porte did in 2007 with a near stage-long solo attack.

    “I’m just going to race it really aggressively, take the opportunity with two hands and just see what comes out of it,” said Kemp. “I...

  • Britain's Blythe at home at Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Podium (L-R): Adam Blythe (Davo Lotto), Denis Flahaut (Landbouwkrediet Colnago) and Joeri Clauwaert (Yawadoo). Photo ©: Tom De Meyer/
    Article published:
    January 14, 2010, 6:18 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Ambition pays off for former British academy rider

    As British neo-professional Adam Blythe counts down to the start of his first full season with Omega Pharma-Lotto, he’s expecting to use 2010 to lay the foundation for his professional career.

    "Next year I'll have a better idea of what races suit me and I'll be able to pick out a few goals. At that stage I'll definitely be looking to get a few wins under my belt," the 20-year-old sprinter told Cyclingnews at his team's training camp in Majorca, Spain. "My goal is just to do the best I can really, I don't know how I'm going to be or how I'm going to do in the sprints so it's an open field really."

    Blythe's two-year contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto followed a successful stint as a stagiaire with the squad at the end of the 2009 season. His brief experience of ProTour racing then has given him a taste of what he can expect, but has also served to temper his expectation of what he will have to do in order to succeed.

    "It's good, it's a lot harder," he said. "The pace, everything is just that bit harder – when you head uphill things don’t tend to slow down. It's a bit like going from junior to amateur to professional again, but if you want to win obviously you have to work that bit harder."

    In an era where English-speaking riders have made the leap from national development programmes to the professional peloton with ever increasing regularity, Blythe is an exception. Though a former member of the British Cycling academy, he left the setup in 2008 to pursue his own path through Belgium to the professional ranks.

    "When I left the junior programme I was on the under-23 academy in England, things didn't go to well and I left there," he said. "I went to Belgium, joined a small team and moved up a level to Davo-Lotto. That team was a sort of feeder team and gave me the opportunity to ride as a stagiaire with Silence-Lotto.

    "As a junior I always came over to Belgium as much as I could," he added. "I...