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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, May 5, 2011

Date published:
May 05, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Giro 'veteran' Meyer hopes homework pays off

    Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervelo) heads out on is ride.
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 2:01 BST
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Australian ready to try his luck in final week

    Taking on the Giro d'Italia is a long way from the comparitively comforting repetition of a velodrome, but for the notoriously studious Cameron Meyer, some habits die hard.

    "I've already studied every stage all the way through the three weeks thinking, Tyler [Farrar] can win this stage; and [Christophe] Le Mevel can have a go here and I can get in the breakaway on this stage," the 2010 Australian Cyclist of the Year told Cyclingnews. "I was talking to Matt Wilson, an old-timer, the other day and he goes: 'Cam, I don't look at the stages. I just go day-by-day because I don't want to know what's coming up in the last couple of weeks.'"

    Some may call in the exuberance of youth but Meyer has done his homework.

    Meyer will be starting in his third Giro this weekend and he's hopeful that this time around, as a 23-year-old with a bit more experience on the road and with added hardness in his legs, the three-week monster won't seem so bad.

    "I got called a veteran of the event the other day," he recalled. "You can only ride a race three times so I'm changing to the Tour or the Vuelta next year!"

    Having just completed the Tour of Romandie, where he and Garmin-Cervelo took out the teams classification, along with Liege-Bastonge-Liege, Meyer is optimistic about the 3496 kilometres ahead. In previous years, he's come off the track world championships with little or no racing under his belt and the adjustment required has been a shock to the system.

    "When I start on Saturday I'm confident...

  • Swift Sky's top sprinter in Amgen Tour of California

    Ben Swift (Team Sky) takes the final stage
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 9:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Brit brings in most 2011 victories for his squad

    After his impressive stage win on the final day of the Tour de Romandie, Ben Swift (Team Sky) will look to take his strong form into the Amgen Tour of California. In the absence of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Swift will lead the line in the sprints as the British team takes on its first crack at the Californian event.

    "I should get a few opportunities at California," Swift told Cyclingnews from his base in Italy. "I've got some really nice racing coming up and hopefully I can take my form into those and get some results."

    Swift will head to California this week and has both the Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta on his further programme. He will therefore skip the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.

    However, his win in Romandie was his fourth of the season to date, making 2011 the 23-year-old's most successful season to date.

    "I've had good condition since coming off Castilla y Leon and so I was just going to Romandie to try my best. We, as a team, wanted to make sure it was a sprint on the final day and the guys were really fantastic."

    The victory came after several days of hard competition but Swift still felt fresh enough to wrap it up. "It's was all pretty tough racing in Romandie but I actually enjoyed the terrain," he said. "There were no really hard mountains but plenty of stages that can shake you up."

    Swift's win in Romandie, his two in the Tour Down Under and a win in Castilla Leon mean that he's the team's most successful rider this year. Greg Henderson has two victories and Steve Cummings one, but Swift, who took his first win in the 2008 Tour of Britain, doesn't believe this is a break-through season for him.

    "I'm not sure about it being something like a breakthrough year. I'm definitely...

  • Kreuziger ready to lead Astana at Giro d'Italia

    Roman Kreuziger (Astana) finished 4th.
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 10:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Czech rider hopes outsider role to his advantage

    Astana rider Roman Kreuziger is ready to take on a new leadership role at the upcoming Giro d'Italia. The Czech stage race hopeful has been working towards his main 2011 season goal since last winter.

    "At the Giro del Trentino, I won a stage, which was very important to me and my confidence before the Giro. Then in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I made a beautiful place and a good effort, finishing fourth. Finally during Tour de Romandie, I worked for Alexander Vinokourov in the key stages and I found a good rhythm and good legs," he said.

    Taking this week to recover before the Giro start, Kreuziger looked back on his preparation, which has never been as thorough. "I did a lot of training camps since the start of the season. In December, I went to Mallorca, in January in Calpe, in February to Etna and late March and early April to Tenerife. Also, it's been two months since I do stretching every day for 20 minutes and I didn't drink a drop of alcohol - I have been very serious."

    The 24-year-old has been building towards the Giro since the end of last year. "In November we already talked about it and it was confirmed on the first training camp in early December in Montecatini, since then I'm only focused on this goal," he said. "There may be some who were worried about the lack of results earlier in the season, but everything was done with the aim to keep forces for the Giro and reach my peak form during this race."

    Kreuziger, who still has everything to prove as a Grand Tour contender, feels ready for his first team leadership challenge. "I hope to win a stage and be amongst the best overall," he stated. "I have never finished on the podium of a grand tour or in the top five, but this year I'm prepared for that....

  • Kessiakoff looks forward to second part of the season

    Fredeik Kessiakoff of Sweden
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 10:58 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Astana rider sidelined from Giro line-up, replaced by Kazakh rider

    Fredrik Kessiakoff may have been dropped from Astana's Giro d'Italia team but the 30-year-old Swede is confident that he can have a successful second part to the season.

    The former mountain biker had been pencilled in to ride the Giro all through the winter and early part of the sping. However, the team decided to make a late change, dropping Kessiakoff in order to give his slot to a home-grown rider from Kazakhstan.

    "I have full respect for whatever the team decides," Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews. "I'm a paid rider and the team is about results and promoting the team in the best possible way. Yes, I was pre-selected for the race and had been talking about riding the Giro for a long time but the team decided to put in a Kazakh rider. It's a Kazakh team and they wanted to see a better national representation in the line-up. Of course I'm disappointed but I respect their decision."

    Kessiakoff was adamant that he had no problem putting his personal wishes aside for the team. "I've had the Giro as an objective for a long time and I was certainly trying to build up for it and be there in the best possible shape to help out Roman Kreuziger. At the same time it's not a surprise that these things happen. I'm a paid rider and I'm paid to go where the team tells me and if they want a better set-up for the team then that's their decision."

    The decision to sub Kessiakoff leaves him without any planned races for the rest of the season, although he is hopeful of making Astana's selection for the Tour de Suisse and the Vuelta. However, he admits that a Tour de France slot is not on the cards.

    "My race schedule only went up until the Giro and that's all I was focusing on. I was just going to take the second part of the season as it comes. So at the moment I don't have any races and I'm waiting to...

  • 2007 Tour de France doping case dismissed in France

    blank
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 13:17 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UCI deny claims that they failed provide French prosecutor with positive doping probes

    The criminal investigation launched after police searches during the 2007 Tour de France has been dismissed. Public prosecutor Jean-Christophe Muller in Pau confirmed today that there will finally be no hearing for Alexander Vinokourov, Iban Mayo and Christian Moreni in their respective cases.

    French police had searched the hotel rooms of the three riders on July 24 and 25, thereby opening the investigation.Vinokourov had tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion on July 21 and left the Tour on the second rest day. Mayo returned a positive doping sample for EPO on July 24 and Moreni, together with his whole team, left the Tour following a testosterone positive on stage 11.

    Since then, the public investigator sent three international letters to the International Cycling Union, but according to them the UCI never complied to the request of handing over the riders' positive doping samples needed to continue the case. According to Sudouest.fr, the governing body of cycling based its refusal upon the confidentiality of these "personal medical elements".

    However the UCI has contested this claim. A spokesperson for the UCI told Cyclingnews that they were sent a letter of request on July 29, 2009. The UCI replied on August 6, asking that an official commission with legal jurisdiction must request the data. According the UCI they never received a reply.
     

  • Is the UCI’s points system destabilising the sport?

    Jonathan Vaughters outside the bus
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 16:25 BST
    By:
    Daniel Benson

    Vaughters calls for caps on salaries and budgets

    The UCI's new sporting criteria combined with its transfer regulations is having an adverse affect on the stability of teams, according to Garmin-Cervélo boss Jonathan Vaughters.

    The UCI’s rules allow for a fixed transfer period from August 1 to 20 October, with teams only able to recruit during that period although they are allowed to privately talk to riders throughout the year.

    However, under the new ranking system all of a rider’s points transfer with him, creating an environment in which teams could be in a position of developing riders for opposing squads and see their talent leave at the end of the year. Such a scenario could see a team stripped of its points and without a ProTeam licence the following year.

    Vaughters, who runs one of the biggest teams, has expressed concern to Cyclingnews that his crop of young, talented Australians have been strongly linked to the GreenEdge and could leave at the end of 2011 to join the nascent squad.

    The reality of such a situation occurring has left Vaughters facing a dilemma over whether he races such riders in top level races, aware that any points they gain between now and then will go to their new team in 2012.

    “I’m really annoyed and I sent my riders an email saying that with Grand Tour selection, that long term loyalty to the team is definitely something that I consider. I'm not very happy or proud about that email. It just should not be a part of my selection mindset. At the end of the day I’m not going to flick them, but it sure did cross my mind.” Vaughters told Cyclingnews.

    "I was in the same position in 2007-2008, as Bannan is now, and I respect how hard it is with grumpy folks like myself around. However, in 2008, the system of being able to buy points was not there. We relied on our team's early season performance and the generosity of ASO to get us into the Tour, not more. Now, if you...

  • SRAM buys US powermeter company Quarq

    SRAM's Quarq crankset saves some 36 grams over its SRM counterpart.
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 16:50 BST
    By:
    James Huang

    Company to phase out non-SRAM meters

    SRAM has announced the acquisition of US powermeter company Quarq, maker of the tidy chainring spider based CinQo.

    "We are looking forward to the opportunities that this partnership represents for further innovation and integration of bicycle components and power measurement," said SRAM CEO Stan Day in a press release. "Quarq’s growth has been impressive and their technology and product base are strong. Power measurement represents a rapidly growing segment of the cycling market and we are very content to have partnered with a leading brand in Quarq, and a technology pioneer in Jim Meyer."

    According to the release, Quarq co-founders Jim and Mieke Meyer will continue to run the company for now and production will stay put in Spearfish, South Dakota "for the near term" – meaning it's sure to relocate once the logistics can be figured out. Likewise, sales and customer service for Quarq will carry on unchanged for the time being but both will eventually be brought into the SRAM fold.

    In terms of the product itself, SRAM has previously collaborated with Quarq and SRM for its crank-based powermeter offerings and SRAM subsidiary Zipp also has a long-running relationship with Powertap. While SRAM road and PR media manager Michael Zellmann officially states otherwise, one can't help wondering how this will affect that relationship.

    "We will continue to work with SRM and sell their products as we do today – same with Powertap/Zipp," Zellmann told BikeRadar.

    As for team sponsorship agreements – many SRAM-sponsored teams are using the company's S975 crank with SRM power meters – Zellmann says that is, "to be determined."

    Quarq's web site, on the other hand, is more explicit, saying that, "complete pre-assembled powermeter packages for SRAM, FSA, Rotor and Cannondale will continue to be available and Quarq will continue to sell powermeters for retro fitment on SRAM, FSA, Rotor, Cannondale,...

  • Dutch and Spanish races cancelled

    Typically for a Dutch race in this region, the peloton rides alongside a canal
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 18:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Batavus Pro Race and Circuito Montañés will not take place this year

    Two European races have been cancelled by their respective organisers for this year. The Dutch Batavus Pro Race (Cat. 1.1) and the Spanish stage race Circuito Montañés (2.2) will not take place in 2011.

    The organsiers of the Batavus Pro Race, also known as the Profronde van Friesland, have made known that they were unable to gather the necessary funds to support the event in time after Batavus, the race's sponsor since 2008, bowed out. The race has thus been held seven times so far with Markus Eichler as winner of the last edition in 2010.

    Also, the more famous Circuito Montañés will be scrapped off the teams' calendars this summer. Event organiser Julián Pelayo passed away last year and this, according to Biciciclismo, was the main reason the race will not get underway this season.

    The Circuito Montañés was raised to a professional competition in 1986 when Pelayo took over the organisation, and counts amongst its most recent winners José María Jiménez, Javier Ochoa, Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema, Tejay Van Garderen and Fabio Duarte.