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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 10, 2010

Date published:
June 10, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Bellis confirms he will ride the British national championships

    Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank)
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 13:46 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    Manxman back in action on June 27 after serious accident

    Britain’s Jonny Bellis has confirmed he will ride the British National Road Race Championships on June 27, his first race since his life-threatening accident last September.

    21-year-old Bellis crashed while riding his scooter in Italy and suffered serious head injuries. He was kept in an induced coma for several weeks before slowly making a recovery. He has undergone intense physiotherapy but has made a remarkable recovery and has been cleared to race again as a professional with the Saxo Bank team.

    He will ride the 180km national championship road race alongside fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish. David Millar, Daniel Lloyd, Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond, Adam Blythe, Russell Downing, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Steve Cummings and Peter Kennaugh are also set to ride. Bradley Wiggins has entered but is expected to miss the race as he focuses on his final build-up for the Tour de France.

    Back in Quarrata

    Bellis returned to Quarrata in Tuscany, close to where his accident happened, for the first time in mid-May and is back there this week for a block of intense training.

    He has clocked up several five-hour rides and has done some speed work with the other British riders who are also based in Quarrata. Despite his rapidly improving form, Bellis has no real goals for his first race back. Just being in the race is enough.

    "There wasn't much chance of me surviving at the beginning. But now my health's fine and my fitness is improving," he told the Press Association.

    "There's still a lot to learn to do but I'm just going to ride the nationals to get back into the routine of racing," he said. "I don't expect much of myself – I'll just ride and see how long I can do. If it's 10k or 100k, I'll just be happy to pin a number on."

  • Milram names first six riders for Tour line-up

    Linus Gerdemann (Milram)
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 15:38 BST
    Cycling News

    German team to concentrate on stage wins

    Linus Gerdemann and Gerald Ciolek will lead Team Milram in the Tour de France this year, concentrating on stage wins rather than the overall rankings. The German ProTour team announced on Wednesday the first six riders for the Tour squad.

    Gerdemann and Ciolek will be joined by Christian Knees, Niki Terpstra, Johannes Fröhlinger, and Thomas Rohregger at the start of the race July 3 in Rotterdam.

    The remaining places will go to three of the following riders: Fabian Wegmann, Markus Fothen, Roger Kluge, Dominik Roels, Björn Schröder, Paul Voss, Roy Sentjens, Peter Wrolich and Luke Roberts.

    The final three riders will be decided based upon their performances in the Criterium du Dauphine, Tour de Suisse and the national championship races at the end of June.

    “Actually, Fabian Wegmann belongs to the final team. But now we must be sure, that he is really fit again after his injury from the Giro d'Italia,“ said the team's general manager, Gerry van Gerwen. “The decision on Fabian's start will be made after the Tour de Suisse.

     “Our team will not ride for the general classification this year. We will go with all nine riders for the stage win every day. Another goal is to fight for the green jersey of the best sprinter. All eight riders will work for Gerald Ciolek on the sprint stages.”

  • Cipollini acquitted of tax fraud

    Mario Cipollini at the start of Milan-San Remo
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 18:14 BST
    Laura Weislo

    Former sprint star proved he lived in Monaco in 2003 and 2004

    Mario Cipollini has been acquitted of charges of tax fraud by the Court of Appeal in Florence, reversing a decision in the 43-year-old's home town of Lucca which could have seen him imprisoned for 22 months.

    The retired former world champion was able to demonstrate that he resided in Monaco during 2003 and 2004, the years he failed to declare his income to the Italian treasury.

    "Finally justice has been done," Cipollini said to "I've never cheated the state."

    Cipollini has already paid one million euros to the Italian treasury department to settle litigation with the tax authorities.

    He isn't the only rider in the recent past to be accused of skirting the Italian tax laws. Both Paolo Bettini and Alessandro Petacchi have faced recent investigations.

  • Brajkovic storms to time trial victory at the Dauphiné

    Janez Brajkovic (Radioshack) took the time trial win and overall lead.
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 18:33 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Slovenian a candidate for RadioShack's Tour de France squad

    Janez Brajkovic confirmed today at the Critérium du Dauphiné Team RadioShack's reputation of being a team known for its time trial prowess. Following the examples of Chris Horner at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Tiago Machado at the Circuit de la Sarthe, the 26-year-old Slovenian scored the seventh win of the debut season for Lance Armstrong's outfit in the Critérium du Dauphiné's lengthy individual time trial. In addition to winning the stage, Brajkovic is the Dauphiné's new race leader.

    Brajkovic, the reigning Slovenian time trial champion and former U23 world time trial champion, put in a dominant performance as he bested favourite David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) by 26 seconds on the 49km course from Monteux to Sorgues. The route wasn't an easy one with a lot of wind and 33 speed bumps to negotiate, which might have contributed to Brajkovic's handlebar coming loose. The Slovenian opted for a bike change at the top of the only climb of the day, at km 15.5. "I could have carried on with the same bike but I wanted to be sure of my equipment," he told reporters at a post-race press conference.

    "After the bike change, I didn't know where I was at," he said. "[RadioShack's directeur sportif] Alain [Gallopin] told me I still I had the best time. I didn't expect to win this race at all. I expected to have a good time trial and I hoped for a top finish.

    "It's great to win. I'm more than happy. I've had a pretty good season so far. I made the top 10 at all the races I've taken part in, except Paris-Nice where I finished 11th. I was really tired after the Tour of California, so I took five day's rest but I got sick.

    "I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at the Dauphiné. I came fresh and in good form, that's why I've done a very good race so far. Maybe I'll lose the jersey tomorrow but I'll defend it for sure."

    Team RadioShack has had several riders suffer crashes at the...

  • Menchov improves form before the Tour de France

    Denis Menchov (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 18:55 BST
    Jean-François Quénet

    Russian star courted by Katusha

    Denis Menchov is happy with his form ahead of the Tour de France after he clocked fifth place in the Dauphiné time trial in Sorgues. He moved up to 8th overall but confirmed that he’s not yet in top condition.

    “I’m satisfied with my performance”, the Russian told Cyclingnews after completing the 49km long course in 1.02.46. “The time trial is always something important for me. I wanted to try the new equipment as well. I did it full gas. In one hour of solo effort, you can see where you are. I came to the Dauphiné to get the rhythm of the competition. I’ll use the coming stages in the mountains to improve my condition. The Tour is in three weeks. I’ll be OK by then.”

    Menchov’s form was unknown since he pulled out of the Tour of Belgium after only 40 kilometres on stage 1. He also came down with bronchitis in May after finishing third at the Tour of Romandy, and eventually second behind Simon Spilak of Lampre following the disqualification of race winner Alejandro Valverde.

    Rabobank didn’t allow Menchov to defend his title at the Giro d’Italia in May but he has been officially announced as Rabobank's co-captain for the Tour de France with Dutch up-and-coming climber Robert Gesink. “The start in Rotterdam is a big event for Dutch cycling and obviously Rabobank”, directeur sportif Frans Maassen told L’Equipe. “Denis is part of our image, we count on him.”

    However it’s debatable how much longer Rabobank will count on Menchov as there is a new generation of Dutch climber coming up, with not only Gesink but also Lars Boom, Bauke Mollema and Steven Kruisjwijk. Menchov’s contract expires at the end of this year and Russian team Katusha is desperately looking for a Grand Tour contender.

    “We’re definitely interested in hiring Menchov, shall he be willing to ride for us”,...

  • McQuaid defends UCI against Landis and Bordry

    UCI president Pat McQuaid has been nominated for membership to the International Olympic Committee.
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 21:20 BST
    Stephen Farrand

    UCI President confirms the Armstrong donation was $100,000

    International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid has responded aggressively to two recent criticisms of the UCI: those made by Pierre Bordry, the head of the French Anti-Doping Agency regarding the effectiveness of the UCI's doping controls and accusations made by Floyd Landis that the previous president accepted a bribe to cover up a positive doping control.

    McQuaid described Bordry's accusations on German television that UCI ant-doping controls at the Tour de France were 'predictable and ineffective' as "pure bullshit".

    Speaking to Cyclingnews from Edinburgh, where he will make the opening keynote speech at the first edition of the Cycling Science Conference on Thursday, McQuaid insisted there was no discrepancy in the amount donated to the UCI by Lance Armstrong - something skeptics used to fuel speculation that the money was actually a payoff.

    "$100,000 is the figure and the receipt is available for anyone to see at the UCI headquarters in Aigle," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

    "I know that Lance said he thought that the figure was $25,000 but that could be because the UCI was actually dealing with Lance's manager Bill Stapleton. Regarding the figure suggested by Sylvia Schenk, that's figure she's just picked from the air. The real amount is $100,000."

    McQuaid said he would be willing to testify in a possible US Federal investigation into the Landis accusations, but claimed he would have little to say. He said there is no need for an independent investigation into Landis accusations because they are already being investigated.

    "I'd go anywhere to testify on what I know, even though I don't know what jurisdiction there might be on the UCI," McQuaid told Cyclingnews.

    "We actually know very little because the only doping information we get is when a lab tells us there's been a positive test and then we follow the rules."

    "The USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) and the other...

  • Cavendish to tune up in Tour de Suisse

    Mark Cavendish and his HTC-Columbia teammates roll to the start
    Article published:
    June 09, 2010, 21:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Aldag confident Tour form will come

    HTC-Columbia will head into this week's Tour de Suisse with no ambitions for the overall classification, instead they will look to hone the team into the same stage-winning machine which claimed six stages of last year's Tour de France.

    The Tour de Suisse starts Saturday in Lugano, where Cavendish will have his regular lead-out men Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw at his disposal. Despite a slower build-up to this season, HTC-Columbia director Rolf Aldag is confident Cavendish will regain the form which saw him net those six Tour stages.

    "Mark is getting better and better, and I saw that for myself when I went training with him and the rest of the team in the Alps recently. I'm confident he'll do well in Suisse, and I'm confident he'll do well in the Tour," said Aldag.

    Last year the squad won an improbable six stages in Switzerland with six different riders. While Aldag doesn't expect a repeat of that result, he said if they can get into the GC lead through strong riding, they'd go with that. "We'll also use Tour de Suisse also to concentrate on perfecting our teamwork. All of the guys in the race are on our long list for the Tour de France so it's a good opportunity to practice how they operate as a squad."

    Tour of California winner Michael Rogers will also be on the line, but without aspirations for the overall in the nine-day race.

    "We've taken a different approach with some of our key guys, like Mick Rogers, who was initially targeting the Tour of California, and he took a great win there. Now it's more important he gets his form together for the Tour de France. Similarly, Tony [Martin] went full gas last year in Suisse and took second overall and a stage. This time round we'd probably just focus with him on one or two stages of Suisse. But if he stays with the best of them, we can live with that, too."

    HTC-Columbia for Tour de Suisse: Michael Albasini, Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, Tony...

  • Federal prosecutor appointed to Landis probe

    Floyd Landis at the Tour of California.
    Article published:
    June 10, 2010, 6:21 BST
    Cycling News

    Miller to assist Novitzky’s investigation

    The United States of America’s Justice Department has appointed federal prosecutor Doug Miller to a probe into Floyd Landis’ accusations, according to the New York Daily News. Miller’s role will be to prosecute any case which may develop from the investigation.

    Landis confessed to doping during his own professional career in an e-mail to USA Cycling leaked to selected media outlets - including - last month. The e-mail implicated several major cycling figures in the practice or knowledge of doping, including Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Jim Ochowicz.

    Miller, an assistant U.S. Attorney, can apply for search warrants and cooperation agreements which Novitzky might need to collect evidence for any case which could materialise from the allegations. He has experience with sports doping cases having played a role in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) case – recognised at the time as one of the largest sports doping rings ever uncovered.

    While unrelated to Miller’s work on the case, it also involved a cyclist in track rider Tammy Thomas. She was convicted of making false statements to a federal grand jury and sentenced to six months house arrest and five years probation in October, 2008.

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is currently investigating Landis’ claims against the USA residence implicated by the rider. The International Cycling Union (UCI) has called for the French, Belgian and Australian national federations to investigate others implicated in the e-mail, while it has attempted to clear its own name of any wrongdoing over money accepted from Armstrong prior to his first retirement from cycling.