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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 3, 2010

Date published:
June 03, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Romoli seriously injured in training accident

    Marina Romoli
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 18:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan rider hospitalized after crash with car

    Marina Romoli, a rider for the Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan team who was due to compete in this Sunday's Women's World Cup in Spain, was seriously injured in an accident during training in Italy yesterday, according to her team.

    Just days shy of her 22nd birthday, Romoli was doing an interval ahead of her two training partners near Airuno in Lecco when a driver turned in front of her. The rider from Treviso crashed into the side window and suffered deep lacerations to her face and fractured vertebrae.

    Romoli was unconscious when she was transported to the hospital in Lecco, and was then airlifted to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan where she was placed in an induced coma.

    Doctors performed a nine-hour long operation this morning, using some 500 stitches to rebuild her face and were confident her life was no longer in danger. They were still concerned about the injury to her spine, but will decide if further surgery is warranted in the coming days.

  • UCI to hold fast to ProTour rules excluding Continental teams

    Continental teams value the chance to race alongside the ProTour teams in the Tour of California.
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 19:23 BST
    By:
    Stephen Farrand

    North American teams concerned over Tour of California, Canadian races

    The globalization of the UCI's ProTour may be helping to bring the top teams to more locations outside of Europe, but a policy of strict adherence to the rules excluding Continental teams from the races have North American teams concerned.

    UCI president Pat McQuaid told Cyclingnews that those teams will have to step up to the Professional Continental ranks if they wish to compete in the ProTour races in Canada or in the Tour of California should it be elevated to the sport's top tier.

    The issue first hit home in Canada, where two ProTour races will take place in September in Quebec and Montreal. The country's only professional team, SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy, had appealed to be allowed into the races only to be turned down because of the rules allowing only ProTour or Professional Continental teams in the race.

    "No Continental team will be riding the two ProTour races in Canada," said McQuaid, clarifying that, as was done for the Tour Down Under, the Canadian national team will be allowed in.

    "Like at the Tour Down under, the National Federation of the country that hosts the race can put in a team. If the national team select SpiderTech riders that's up to them. It's a pity for the SpiderTech team but they're only a Continental team and so they're not allowed to ride ProTour races. That's the rules."

    The organizers of the Amgen Tour of California are currently in discussions with the UCI to see if a jump to ProTour status will go forward for 2011 or some other point in the future. This would impact all of the top US Continental teams, who would be unable to compete in the country's biggest race or, if they jumped to Pro Continental would be excluded from the big elite national races.

    McQuaid was undeterred, citing the higher level teams' obligations to adhere to the costs and rules of the Biological Passport programme as the main motivation for sticking to the rules.

    "It might be a problem for...

  • Luis Leon Sanchez gets a scare

    Spaniard Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne)
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 21:14 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Caisse d'Epargne rider hit by car, not seriously injured

    Luis Leon Sanchez, the Caisse d'Epargne team's hopeful for the Tour de France, got a scare during training today when he was hit by a car. The Spaniard was training in Murcia along with teammates Alejandro Valverde and Francisco Perez when the accident occurred.

    Sanchez was fortunate enough to escape the incident without serious injury.

    "We were going down to the port of Sierra Espuña when I was hit by a car.  At the time I could not move for the pain and I was taken to hospital by ambulance for x-rays. Luckily it has only been a shock and I have nothing broken, " said Sanchez.

    Sanchez will take Valverde's place as captain of the team for the Tour de France after Valverde was suspended this week. The Court of Arbitration for Sport agreed that Valverde had committed a past doping offense based on evidence from Operacion Puerto and banned him until December 31, 2011.

    Valverde continues to train in hopes that he can overturn the decision in the Supreme Court of Switzerland.

  • UCI to discuss 'motorised doping' issue

    UCI president Pat McQuaid speaks at the Giro d'Italia
    Article published:
    June 02, 2010, 22:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Panel to work on detection of pedal assist devices

    The International Cycling Union said today that it will look into the much-discussed 'mechanical doping' issue in a routine meeting with industry representatives next week.

    UCI president Pat McQuaid told AP that he did not think riders were actually using the device, which Italian journalist Davide Cassani demonstrated during the Giro d'Italia. The mechanical assist can be hidden inside the downtube of a bicycle frame and provide an estimated 50-100 watts of power.

    "We want to make sure that, as batteries on bikes progress, the UCI is in a position to monitor completely any usage there might be in an unfair way," McQuaid said.

    The videos of the assist bike spread around the internet like wildfire, McQuaid said, but insisted there "is no foundation for it".

    He also did not believe the device could be hidden well enough to avoid detection. "They are still not invisible," he said. "All the evidence we're seeing . . . is that the battery is about the size of a bag of sugar."

  • Rosseler suffers broken wrist in training accident

    The best thing about winning a bike race: Sébastien Rosseler (RadioShack) on the podium
    Article published:
    June 03, 2010, 9:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Joins list of pros hit by cars whilst training

    Sebastien Rosseler of Team RadioShack has joined the list of those hit by a car while training the last few days. It is not yet known if his participation in the Tour de France will be jeopardised.

    The accident occurred while he was riding between Liège and Tongeren in Belgium. "There is a small fracture in the left wrist. He also has some serious bruises on the right shoulder,” team spokesman Philippe Maertens told the Belgian news agency Belga. The rider must sit out training for at least two weeks, as he cannot put any pressure on the broken wrist for 14 days.

    Rosseler is just one of a series of riders hit by cars whilst training this week. Luis Leon Sanchez was training with Caisse d'Epargne teammates Alejandro Valverde and Francisco Perez when he was hit. The Spaniard came away with a shock but was not seriously injured.

    The most serious incident involved Marina Romoli of team Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan. She suffered severe facial injuries and fractured vertebrae when a car turned in front of her. The 21-year-old was placed in an induced coma and underwent nine hours of surgery.

  • Martin takes time out after Giro debut

    Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) on his way to 20th
    Article published:
    June 03, 2010, 10:35 BST
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    National championships next event for Irishman

    Dan Martin of Garmin-Transitions is taking a well-earned rest after finishing a grueling Giro d'Italia on Sunday in Verona. The 23-year-old Irishman completed his Giro debut in 57th overall for the second Grand Tour finish of his career after last year's Vuelta a España.

    Martin, who spoke to Cyclingnews from his home base in Girona, Spain, perhaps summed up the feelings of many Giro finishers with his initial, two-word assessment of his performance: "I survived".

    The Irish climber entered the Giro d'Italia with no pressure for results and an opportunity to test his mettle in the mountains. Martin's best results occurred before and after the second rest day: a ninth place finish in stage 15 which finished on Monte Zoncolan and then a 20th place finish two days later on the Plan de Corones mountain time trial.

    "My best day was on the Zoncolan, then we had the rest day and then the Plan de Corones," said Martin. "After the Zoncolan there were two short days: I did 2.5 hours on the rest day and then the time trial was a short day, but I never felt the same after the [second] rest day.

    "I made it to Verona, but I suffered through the final week. My legs felt good, but the rest of me just wasn't there."

    Martin is now taking the time to assess his Giro performance, but much remains a blur. "I keep recalling anecdotes from the race, but they all blend together. Every day was a challenge," he explained.

    Two moments which stand out, however, were teammate Tyler Farrar's stage wins on the second and tenth stages. "It was great to cross the finish line and see Tyler with his arms in the air on the giant screen," said Martin. "We've grown up together on the team and he's shown that he's one of the best sprinters in the world."

    Martin was also part of the mass escape on stage 11 which saw the general classification upended when race leader Alexandre Vinokourov and many of the race favourites finished nearly 13...

  • Delgado on the defensive over Valverde

    Former Vuelta and Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado was one of those presenting the new route.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2010, 12:37 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Former Tour champion laments decision to ban countryman

    Former Spanish professional rider and TV commentator Pedro Delgado has joined the chorus of voices criticising the sanction imposed on Alejandro Valverde this week, lamenting the role of the International Cycling Union (UCI) in the case.

    Europa Press reports that the 1988 Tour de France champion is critical of the time taken to impose the ban, which is effective from January 1 this year and prohibits the Caisse d'Epargne rider from competing until January 1, 2012.

    The ban is effectively 19 months in duration due to his participation in races up until the Tour de Romandie, which he won, although that is of little comfort to those who support his cause. "I do not know why they had to wait so long [to decide on his ban] because he wanted to get on with things or decide that yes, there was no alternative," said Delgado after his participation in the European Symposium of Sport.

    Delgado, who tested positive for probenecid after stage 17 of the 1988 Tour de France but was not sanctioned due to the drug being absent from the UCI's list of banned substances at the time, called the situation "bizarre" because Valverde's ban was handed down without the rider ever returning a positive anti-doping test.

    "I think cycling, in the situation it is in, has to do things right, whether [the rider is] Spanish or not," he said, referring to the case of Liquigas' Franco Pellizotti, who was prevented from riding the Giro d'Italia for an anomaly in his biological passport. "The sanction seems laughable to me... the top leadership has taken a very wrong direction," he added.

    The Segovia native sees no end to the story and the situation "saddens" him, adding, "the value of cycling in my time has deteriorated significantly," he said. "The UCI welcomes Valverde's two-year punishment when they have had four years control over the situation," referring to questions surrounding the Operación Puerto saga, that exploded in...

  • Riis: sponsor search going well

    Bjarne Riis waited patiently outside as his riders were presented
    Article published:
    June 03, 2010, 12:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Hopes to announce new sponsor at Tour de France

    Bjarne Riis has said that the search for a new sponsor for his Team Saxo Bank is going well and that he hopes to be able to announce the new sponsor at the Tour de France.

    “It looks good, but I cannot say much more than that,” he told the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. “We have good talks around the table and we are, of course, working on some things.

    “First and foremost, it is important to keep calm,” he said.

    Last month there were rumours that SunGard would expand its sponsorship to became the name sponsor, with the possibility of an announcement during the Amgen Tour of California. While that did not happen, speculation has been further fired by the fact that the internet name “team-sungard.com” has allegedly been sold, although it does not appear yet on the web.

    Chris Anker Sörensen said that he had trust in the team owner. “It is true that he has to find something, otherwise the good riders will look for another team. But it sounds realistic,” he told the Danish website spn.dk. “”I am 100 percent confident.”

    It was also announced that Sörensen will not ride another race before the Tour de France. The 25-year-old is worn out from the Giro d'Italia. “Right now I will relax a little. During the last four or five days of the Giro, I had the flu and was pretty much all in,” he said.

    He had originally been scheduled to ride the Dauphiné Libéré, where he won a stage in 2008. "We have moved a little away from the plans because the Giro was too hard for him," Riis said.

    Sörensen fought his way through the bad weather and fog to win the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia at Monte Terminillo.

    "It was crazy cool to win the stage,” he said. “It was huge. "