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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 31, 2011

Date published:
March 31, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Henao to Team Sky in 2012?

    Sergio Luis Henao (Ind Ant-Idea-Fla-Lot De Medellin) hung on to his overall lead
    Article published:
    March 30, 2011, 21:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Agent claims young Colombian climber ready to sign for two years

    Colombian rider Sergio Luis Henao is very close to signing with Team Sky for the 2012 season, according to his agent. The climber is supposed to be one of the most talented young Colombian riders.

    "I will ride in Europe in 2012,” he said earlier, and now his agent Giuseppe Acquadro has told that he is on the verge of signing a two-year contract with the British team Sky.

    Henao, 23, rode with the Continental-ranked Colombia es Pasion from 2007 to 2009. After a year as an Elite rider, he signed with Gobernación de Antioquia – Indeportes Antioquia this season.

    Last year he won two stages plus the team time trial and the overall title at the Vuelta a Colombia. In 2009 he won a stage each and the overall titles at the Grand Prix du Portugal and the Cinturón a Mallorca.

    "I will make 2011 the last year with a proud country and now I think I have other goals,” Henao said. “I think the cycle is completed in Colombia.”

  • Critérium du Dauphiné route announced

    The 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné podium (l-r): Alberto Contador, 2nd; Janez Brajkovic, 1st; Tejay Van Garderen, 3rd.
    Article published:
    March 30, 2011, 22:55 BST
    Cycling News

    A parcours for the climbers

    The 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné parcours was announced today by race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the eight-day, 1053km route will delight the peloton's climbers in search of a final tune-up prior to the Tour de France.

    The 63rd edition of the French stage race, taking place June 5 to June 12, features two time trials and six road stages. Five of the six road stages will conclude on summit finishes, leaving only stage 4, 172km from La Motte-Servolex to Mâcon, a likely day for the sprinters.

    The summit finishes range from a short, steep climb in Lyon (stage 2) to the relatively easy slopes of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (stage 1) and the Les Gets station (stage 5), as well as mountains favouring the pure climbers, like the Collet d’Allevard (stage 6) or La Toussuire (stage 7).

    Other climbs of note include the category 1 Grand Cucheron, the penultimate climb in stage 6, as well as the hors catégorie Croix de Fer, preceding the summit finish of stage 7.

    The Critérium du Dauphiné opens with a 5.5km prologue time trial in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with another race of truth included on stage 3, a lengthy 42.5km test in Grenoble. The latter time trial will be of particular interest to those with Tour de France aspirations as its route is the exact same as the Tour's penultimate stage time trial on July 23.

    The 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné was won by Slovenia's Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack).

    2011 Critérium du Dauphiné route:

    Prologue (ITT): Sunday, June 5 - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, 5.5km
    Stage 1: Monday, June 6 - Albertville to Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, 144km
    Stage 2: Tuesday, June 7 - Voiron to Lyon,...

  • CAS hopes to issue Contador ruling by end of June

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) on the sign-in stage.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 8:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Court confirms UCI and WADA appeals

    The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced that it hopes to have a settlement of the Alberto Contador doping case by the end of June, which would thus make clear whether the Spaniard could ride the Tour de France this year.

    “The CAS Secretary General has informed the parties that the CAS would be ready to establish a procedural calendar allowing for the settlement of the dispute before the end of June 2011,” according to the court's website.

    The Court also confirmed that both the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have filed appeals against the decision of the Spanish Cycling Federation. It also said that it if all parties agreed, the two appeals will be consolidated into one case.

    The Spanish Cycling Federation last month cleared the Team Saxo Bank-SunGard rider of charges that he had doped with Clenbuterol during the 2010 Tour de France.

    The UCI appealed that decision to the CAS on March 24, telling Cyclingnews that it was not convinced that Contador had proven contamination and that professional cycling deserved to have the highest authority make the final decision.

    WADA announced on Wednesday that it would appeal the case,but did not make its legal arguments public.

  • Knees to lead German national team in Rund um Köln

    Christian Knees (Sky Procycling) signed from Milram in the winter
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 9:27 BST
    Cycling News

    Eight high-powered riders take on homeland race

    Christian Knees will lead a German national team at Rund um Köln next month. The German champion will lead a high-powered eight man team at the first major German race of the season.

    Race organisers announced on Wednesday that the German team will consist of Knees (Sky), Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD), Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare), Gerald Ciolek and Andreas Stauff (both Quick Step), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Andreas Klier (Garmin-Cervélo) and Dominik Nerz (Liquigas-Cannondale).

    The race will feature 23 teams, including four ProTeams: Leopard Trek, Rabobank, Vacansoleil-DCM and Katusha. Team NetApp, as Germany's only Professional Continental-ranked team, will also participate.

    Rounding out the field are Skil-Shimano, CCC Polsat, Landbouwkrediet, Nutrixxion Sparkasse, Eddy Merckx-Indeland, NSP, TT Raiko - Argon 18, Heizomat, Seven Stones, Team Vorarlberg, Tyrol Team, Donckers Coffee – Jelly Belly, AC Sparta Praha, Glud & Marstrand-LRO, Cyclingteam Jo Piels, Adria Mobil, and An Post – Sean Kelly.

    Rund um Köln, traditionally held on Easter Monday, runs 203 kilometres from Gummersbach to Köln (Cologne) on April 25. The 2010 edition was won by Juan Jose Haedo of Saxo Bank, whose team is not participating this year.

  • Devolder, Sagan, Ballan and Pozzato out of De Panne

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) rides through the crowds.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 9:28 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Bad weather conditions also predicted for the week-end

    The typically bad Belgian weather is taking its toll on the Three Days of De Panne. Several favourites have decided not to take the start of the penultimate stage on Thursday morning, as rain is pouring down on the North Sea coast around De Panne, where the last two stages are held.

    In view of Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen, Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM), Filippo Pozzato and Luca Paolini (Katusha), Peter Sagan (Liquigas) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) have all opted to abandon the event in order to avoid any crashes. Devolder crashed on Wednesday and is reported to suffer from a painful shoulder.

    Today's 111km-stage 3a will take the riders on an inland loop around the beach resort of De Panne, with stage 3b on Thursday afternoon - a 17km time trial - settling the overall classification. Sagan is thereby renouncing his chances for the final honours, as he was fifth on GC on the eve of the ultimate day of racing.

    The Belgian weather forecast has meanwhile predicted rain showers for the weekend, too. A thick layer of clouds will pass over Belgium from West to East on Sunday, providing a few rain showers, gusts of wind and temperatures ranging from 9 to 13° Celsius.

  • Tour of Japan cancelled for 2011

    Takashi Miyazawa (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) and Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) honour the victims of the Japanese disaster.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 9:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis too much to overcome

    The damage caused by natural catastrophe in Japan have forced the cancellation of the Tour of Japan. The race had been scheduled to be run May 15 – 22.

    A 9.0 earthquake on March 11 and a subsequent tsunami caused substantial damage to the northeastern part of the country, with significant loss of lives. In addition, the nuclear power plant of Fukushima, amongst others, was damaged, leading a nuclear crisis of a yet unknown scale.

    Moreover, it has become difficult to secure necessary staff and equipment and control road traffic for the event due to power cuts which have also disrupted public transportation, organisers said, according to the AFP news agency.

    The 2010 Tour was won by Cristiano Salerno of De Rosa-Stac Plastic.

    There have been numerous actions within the peloton to raise money to help earthquake survivors, with various teams and riders auctioning signed jerseys. Many races have featured Japanese riders leading a minue of silence before the start.

  • Devolder injured but ready for Tour of Flanders

    Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil - DCM) rides off the sign-in stage.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 11:42 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Two-time winner in awe of Cancellara, admits differences with Boonen

    Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM), who abandoned the Three days of De Panne on Thursday because of the bad weather conditions, will be a dark horse going into the Tour of Flanders this weekend. The two-time winner of the event rode the Driedaagse de Panne as a final preparation for the 'Ronde', but crashed on Wednesday, reportedly injuring his shoulder.

    Before the crash, Devolder told Sporza he felt "ready" for his bid to win the Ronde a third time, even though he spoke in great admiration of the race favourite, Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek). "I've seen him on Saturday in Harelbeke, and his performance was the strongest I have ever seen in my career," Devolder said.

    "I was left speechless. All the riders in the front group couldn't believe what they saw. It took me another day to recover from that."

    Nevertheless, the 31-year-old did not give up hope of beating 'Spartacus'. "Everyone is afraid of him now, so he's not only my problem. But everyone can be beaten, so Cancellara can, too. But we'll have to ride real quick..."

    While Devolder is not counted amongst the greatest favourites for the 'Ronde' this year, it is not a position which the Belgian dislikes. "I have won the Ronde twice, and every time I wasn't a leader at the start," he mused. "I will have a strong team, with Bjorn Leukemans at my side. We don't have to talk tactics much before the start. It will be determined during the race."

    In fact, the former Quick Step rider has come to accept...

  • AFLD expert in favour of "no needle" policy

    The Garmin doctor checks over Millar after the stage
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 13:22 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Collaboration with police and pharma industry crucial in anti-doping fight

    The scientific expert of the French Anti-Doping Agency AFLD, Michel Rieu, has spoken in favour of the "no needle" policy currently being discussed within the sport. At the moment, only a few teams including Garmin-Cervélo has implemented this, but UCI president Pat McQuaid has also recently supported the idea.

    "The new approach of 'no needles', that seems to interest the UCI, is promising," Rieu told L'Equipe. "When you see the arsenal of some teams, it leaves you naturally cautious. With this new approach, a whole team would be excluded."

    The Frenchman thought that banning any kind of needle use in cycling could help in the fight against doping, as well as close collaboration with criminal investigators and police. This particularly applied to substances such as growth hormone (HGH), which can only be detected over a very short period of time. "You have to be very lucky, because the detection span is only from 12 to 24 hours after the injection. So in this case, the detection not only concerns chemists but also investigators: you have to target suspect persons to catch them at the right place and the right time. According to our information, [growth hormone] is widespread in all sports. It's not a lot to get just one cyclist positive for it."

    Another important step is the collaboration between anti-doping instances and the pharmaceutical industry. "A few months ago, the industry has accepted to give information on the new molecules that are being studied or tested clinically, so that we have a detection method on hand. This worked well for Hematide, a successor to EPO: two labs, including that of Châtenay-Malabry, were able to get this molecule and are working on a detection method," he revealed.