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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, March 4, 2010

Date published:
March 04, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Keukeleire dashes to first professional win in Wallonia

    Jens Keukeleire (Cofidis) on the podium
    Article published:
    March 03, 2010, 19:54 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian surprised that a victory came so soon

    21-year-old Jens Keukeleire stunned the peloton in the Belgian race Le Samyn today by knocking out his first professional win in his inaugural season with the Cofidis team. The neo-pro found himself too far back in the sprint, so he set off alone on the left side of the course while the rest of the sprinters took to the right.

    Without shelter from the wind, it took a long, sustained effort to the line, and, he told Sportwereld.be, "Suddenly I was alone at the front and could make a victory salute."

    In just his sixth race as a pro, Keukeleire followed up two top-ten finishes in the Challenge Mallorca and a 4th place behind Andre Greipel on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve with the victory today in his home country, a feat made even more special because it was broadcast live on Belgian television.

    "I'm really happy - the GP Samyn is no small race and it was live on television - my father was at home watching!"

    The win was Cofidis' seventh victory of the season, and Keukeleire hopes to continue to make an impression at the Driedaagse van Vlaanderen, which begins on Friday.

  • Rock Racing officially denied pro license

    Michael Ball and Mario Cipollini
    Article published:
    March 03, 2010, 21:14 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team to continue at amateur level

    After months of deliberation and speculation, the International Cycling Union (UCI) officially denied Rock Racing a professional license after the team failed to be approved for both Professional Continental and Continental status. But Rock's not dead yet - owner Michael Ball says the team will continue as an amateur squad.

    The team was first denied a Professional Continental License by the UCI back in January. Since then, the team downgraded its ambitions to chasing a Continental license, citing registration possibilities in the USA, Mexico and Spain.

    In February, it was announced that Rock Racing had formed a partnership with the Spanish-based team Murcia, a team that was also in the midst of financial distress at the time. The partnership was supposed to ensure a UCI-Continental license under the title Rock Racing-Murcia, however that scenario never materialized.

    Ambitions crash down on unsuspecting riders

    Upon notice that the team would not receive a Professional Continental license, Ball voided the contracts of three of the team's newest recruits. Pat McCarty and his would-be teammates Tony Cruz and Fred Rodriguez were jettisoned in January when the UCI's decision was made final.

    Victor Hugo Pena listed five riders that would stay on board with Rock Racing through its quest to obtain Continental status. Those rider were himself along with Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo, Glen Chadwick and Floyd Landis.

    Ball speculated that hiring Floyd Landis may have had something to do with the UCI's decision to deny the team a license. "I considered it and it was in the news but I think it harmed our chances with getting a pro continental license and a license in general for that matter," said Michael Ball. "It is what it is and the UCI runs the sport and there comes a time when you have to give it up and understand the powers that be.

    "I'm sure there are a lot reasons why they didn't give it to...

  • Schleck's season debut cut short

    Andy Schleck in action at the Giro del Friuli
    Article published:
    March 03, 2010, 21:33 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Andy Schleck drops out of Giro del Friuli

    One month after having a forced rest due to inflammation in his knee, Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck was riding pain free and ready to make his season start at the Giro del Friuli today. The Luxembourger did not finish the 190km Italian race today, but not because of his injury.

    "My first race today and I'm happy did good work 'til I pull out after 160, but my knee didn't hurt only in the end a bit so that's good," Schleck said on Twitter.

    The 2009 Tour de France runner-up was not concerned about the injury at the beginning of February, when he was diagnosed with inflammation under his kneecap. He also began the 2009 season with tendonitis in his ankle, but went on to claim success as early as Flèche Wallonne, where he took second before he went on to win Liège - Bastogne - Liège.

    Schleck was scheduled to start his season in the Challenge Mallorca before suffering knee pain. He was then to make his start in the Ruta del Sol last week, but postponed his debut until today's Giro del Friuli.

    The 24-year-old is still on the schedule for Eroica and Tirreno-Adriatico.

  • New Zealand cyclist supporting Chilean cause

    Hayden Roulston descends Hackthorne Rd.
    Article published:
    March 03, 2010, 23:25 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    HTC-Columbia, Trek-Livestrong items donated for fund raising auction

    Members of New Zealand’s cycling community have donated items to be auctioned to raise funds for Chilean communities devastated by last week’s earthquakes. The natural disaster is particularly close to the heart of Tour of Wellington and New Zealand promoter Jorge Sandoval, who was raise in Tome, just 74 kilometres from the earthquake’s epicenter.

    “The greater cycling community has rallied around Sandoval and has been quick to donate cycling kits and other products for an auction to be held in the coming days” said auction organiser Grant Wall.

    Current New Zealand Time Trial champion and five times road champion Gordon McCauley is donating a set of his national champion kit. "Jorge does a lot for cycling in New Zealand, so it's nice to be able to do something for him, and because it's a good cause," McCauley said.

    HTC-Columbia’s Hayden Roulston has also donated to the auction; providing a team HTC-Columbia kit. Subway Avanti Pro Cycling Team is also donating, as are various cyclists and cycling shops around the country.

    The auction will be held late next week on New Zealand auction website TradeMe. The time delay is to allow everyone to send in their donated items.

    Confirmed auction items
    2009 NZ Road Champion kit - Gordon McCauley
    Team Columbia HTC kit - Hayden Roulston
    Yellow jerseys from the Trust House Cycle Classic and NZCT Women’s Tour
    KOM jerseys from the NZCT Women’s tour and Trust House Cycle Classic
    2009 Colavita/Sutter Home kit from the USA - Cath Cheatley
    2009 Trek-LiveSTRONG team kit - Sam Bewley
    Subway Avanti Pro Cycling kit - courtesy the team
    Benchmark Homes team kit - courtesy the team
    Bici Vida team kit - courtesy the team
    Mico / All About Plumbing team kit - courtesy the team
    Various Tour of Wellington jerseys - Mark Langlands
    PFC Race Team Kit - Penny Farthing Cycles...

  • Ten Dam looking for quick comeback

    Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    March 04, 2010, 1:09 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutchman recovering well from fractured pelvis

    Laurens ten Dam, the Rabobank rider who was injured in a crash in the Ruta del Sol last month, is hoping to make his comeback to competition as early as the Vuelta a Catalunya at the end of this month.

    The Dutchman has resumed training after fracturing his pelvis in a crash on race's second stage to Córdoba when high winds blew a barrier down in front of the peloton. He was able to ride three hours today on his first outdoor excursion since the wreck.

    "Obviously it's sore," Ten Dam said of his hip on his team's website Rabosport.nl, "but I'm already out on the bike so I'm more than good."

    Ten Dam had initially targeted Paris-Nice, but had to refine his program after the injury. He is working closely with the team's doctor and coach Louis Delahaye to revamp his spring schedule with an eye toward the Amstel Gold Race.

    The Vuelta a Catalunya begins March 22.

  • Vande Velde cautiously optimistic ahead of Paris-Nice

    Christian Vande Velde (Garmin - Transitions) chats with Alberto Contador at the Volta ao Algarve, the season debut for both riders.
    Article published:
    March 04, 2010, 2:32 GMT
    By:
    Peter Hymas

    Injured in Algarve, American looks to bounce back in France

    Unlike the previous four years in which Christian Vande Velde started his season Stateside at the Tour of California, the Garmin-Transitions captain instead first turned the pedals in anger this season in Europe. Vande Velde kicked off his 2010 season on February 17th at Portugal's five-day Volta ao Algarve due to the American stage race's new, mid-May calendar position.

    Despite being happy with his form, Vande Velde's season debut at the Volta ao Algarve did not go as planned as the Garmin - Transitions rider did not start the final day's time trial, hampered by a lingering ankle injury. Vande Velde, however, remained upbeat and eager to resume racing at Paris - Nice on March 7th.

    "I was involved in a crash at the Volta ao Algarve with [Gert] Steegmans, smacked my ankle pretty hard, and it got very inflamed," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews from his home in Spain. "It doesn't take much to get you off the rails, but it doesn't take you much to get back on either this time of year. If I'm going to be involved in a crash I'm happy it's in February.

    "I had to take some time off the bike this last week, which is definitely not ideal, and I'm just coming back as of right now. But you never know at this time of year and maybe a little bit of rest will do me some good."

    Coupled with an extensive winter block of training in balmy Hawaii instead of his Chicago-area home, the onset of the 2010 season is a fresh departure from previous years for the 33-year-old American. It's a change of pace not to come out swinging in the early season for the US's biggest race, but it's something the seasoned American pro takes in stride.

    "It's definitely an easier approach into the season, but I don't know if I like it or dislike it because I really liked that goal of being fit for the Tour of California," said Vande Velde. "All you think about throughout the winter time is 'California, California, California'. Nonetheless it's not always...

  • South Africa names del Capo, Nations Cup teams

    Jay Thompson (South Africa)
    Article published:
    March 04, 2010, 3:45 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    Under 23 riders set for big racing block

    Cycling South Africa has named the Under 23 riders that will compete in its Giro del Capo and Nation’s Cup squads for 2010. Paul van Zweel and JC Nel are the only two riders who will compete in both teams, starting with the Giro del Capo in South Africa from March 9-12.

    Christopher Jennings has been left off the Giro del Capo squad as he’s already left to start his season in Belgium. The rider will be included in South Africa’s Nation’s Cup team, which will contest five races starting from late March.

    A ninth rider will be added to the Nation’s Cup roster, based off performance at the Giro del Capo. The Nation’s Cup team will commence racing at the GP du Portugal in late March before contesting Tour de Flanders, La Cote Picarde, ZLM Tour and Giro delle Regionni.

    CSA Toyota Team’s roster for Giro del Capo: JC Nel, Paul van Zweel, HB Kruger, Jean Spies, David Brown and Denzil Afrika.
    Cycling South Africa’s Nation’s Cup roster: Christopher Jennings, Johann van Zyl, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Paul van Zweel, JC Nel, Shaun-Nick Bester, Songezo Jim and Michael Robinson.

  • Dekker angry over two-year suspension

    blank
    Article published:
    March 04, 2010, 10:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dutch rider feels unfairly treated

    Thomas Dekker has given conflicting statements as to his two-year doping suspension, announced yesterday by the Monegasque Cycling Federation. While he lawyer issued a statement in which the rider said he accepted the ban, the young Dutchman has told the Dutch press something else.

    “Why do I get two years, while Ricco was suspended for four months less?" Thomas Dekker asked de Telegraaf. “Ricco tested positive during the Tour on the latest EPO variant Cera. I tested positive for EPO at an out-of-competition control in winter, but never used dope during a race. It was only eighteen months later I was found positive in rechecking.

    “I really don’t understand what the basis for the maximum punishment is. I also don’t know what steps I may have to take. This is another heavy blow. Honestly I had not counted on it."

    The suspension, which runs until July 1, 2011, deals with a retrospective test carried out in a doping control in December 2007. When the positive was first announced last summer, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said that it had the control re-tested because of suspicious blood values uncovered by the biological passport programme.

    Dekker indicated that he might ask the UCI to review the suspension. Both the rider and the UCI have the right to appeal the suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), although there is no indication as to whether either will do so.

    According to de Telegraaf, Dekker has been training lately, perhaps with the hopes of riding again this year. While that doesn’t seem possible, the 25-year-old was in fighting spirits.

    “They won't get me down. I will definitely return and clear my name.”

    His lawyer, Hans van Oijen, issued a much milder statement in Dekker's name, saying, “I have read the decision and accept it. I will work hard to return to the peloton.”