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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 12, 2009

Date published:
November 12, 2009, 0:00 GMT
  • Dempster joins Rapha-Condor for 2010

    Stage four podium (l-r): Mitchell Pearson (2nd,Shortis Cycle & Tri-Avanti Plus), Joel Pearson (1st,Savings and Loans), and Zak Dempster (3rd, Drapac Porsche).
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 9:00 GMT
    By:
    Greg Johnson

    Australian youngster focused on Normandie, Britannia

    Australia’s Zak Dempster will join British Continental squad Rapha Condor for the 2010 season. Dempster endured a difficult season this year following the collapse of the European squad he’d signed for, so is looking forward to a fresh start with John Herety’s team.

    “Basically they’re building on what they did this year,” Dempster told Cyclingnews. “There’s a real interest in England, as there is in Australia, for cycling. It’s a bit of a boom sport which has allowed them to get a lot more funding so next season is looking like a really good program with a lot of UCI races in France. It’s really a perfect program for me, when I looked at the program they put forth the results are really attainable, I believe.”

    The 22-year-old had signed with Bulgarian-based Cycling Club Bourgas for 2009, but by the time he’d recovered from an early-season illness the team had run into financial difficulties and folded. He was thrown a lifeline by Drapac-Porsche for the closing months of the season.

    Chalking this year’s events up to experience, Dempster is already focusing on his goals for next season. “Things like the Tour of Normandie, Tour of Britannia are really great races for me,” he said. “Also at the end of the year with [the Tours of] Ireland and Britain, they’re two races I’ve done well in before.

    “It’s perfect for me as it provides me with a platform to go to that next level,” added Dempster. “They are races that, like I said, I really believe I can attain results in so it’s very exciting.”

    Dempster expects to start his preparations for the European season at home in Australia with the Jayco Bay Classic series and the Australian Open Road Championships in Ballarat, Victoria. While he’s previously focused on the time trial at the AORC, Dempster and coach Tim Decker are yet...

  • Tour de Langkawi 2010 route announced

    A member of the Malaysian cycling team rolls off the stage at the presentation.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 9:06 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Tour de Langkawi riders to battle against South China Sea winds in 2010

    The route for the 15th edition of Asia's premier cycling event, the 2010 Le Tour de Langkawi, has been announced today in Malaysia. The International Cycling Union (UCI) Cat. 2.HC event is scheduled to take place from March 1-7, 2010 and will involve seven stages, for a total distance of 1,001.8 kilometres.

    The route will feature 13 stage towns, including a venue new to the Tour de Langkawi at Parit Sulong in the state of Johor.

    The seven stages will be:

    Stage 1 - Kota Bharu - Kuala Berang (174.5km)
    Stage 2 - Kuala Terengganu - Chukai (182.9km)
    Stage 3 - Pekan, Pahang - Mersing, Johor (144km)
    Stage 4 - Mersing, Johor - Parit Sulong, Johor (163.5km)
    Stage 5 - Muar, Johor - Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan (140.3km)
    Stage 6 - Putrajaya, WP - Genting Highlands (103.9km)
    Stage 7 - Kuala Kubu Baru - Dataran Merdeka (loop x6) (92.8km)

    The route will be challenging because riders will have to pedal against the winds of the South China Sea, especially in stage two and stage three, while stage four will test their endurance.

    After a year's absence, the race will once again head to the 'Hors Catégorie' Genting Highlands on stage six. The steep climb will be expected to determine the overall winner.

    A total of 20 six-man teams will compete, including three ProTour teams, five pro continental teams, five continental teams, four foreign national teams and three local teams.

    Now being organised by the country's Ministry of Youth and Sport together with the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF), Le Tour de Langkawi has become one of the most prestigious cycling races in Asia. "Every year, the Tour grows in recognition," said Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Y.B. Dato' Razali Haji Ibrahim at the launch of the event. "We can be proud of this achievement, raising the standard of event organisation to a professional world-class level and further enhance the development of...

  • Rund um Köln 2010 saved

    The peloton swerves
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 9:41 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Rund um Köln's 94th edition to take place in 2010, return to trade teams

    German one-day classic Rund un Köln has been confirmed to continue next season. The race, which will celebrate its 94th edition in 2010, has been assured live TV coverage by German public broadcaster WDR, and the event's organiser Artur Tabat is confident he will be able to attract enough sponsors to finance the race, scheduled to take place on Easter Monday, April 5, 2010.

    Tabat confirmed that he already has two sponsors on board and can now look for more. "Now, I will be able to negotiate with other possible sponsors. Their products are sure to appear on TV," he told newspaper Kölner Stadtanzeiger.

    Tabat was also happy to announce a return to trade team format. The 2009 Rund un Köln had been raced with national teams as public pressure to avoid any doping scandals was rife. Next year, the event will return to tradition and be open to trade teams again.

    German ProTour team Milram is sure to participate, according to Tabat, and "other teams will follow." An anti-doping conference is also planned to take place in the days prior to the event.

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  • Priamo given four-year suspension

    Matteo Priamo (CSF Group Navigare) wasn't happy
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 11:42 GMT
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    Priamo out for four years as CAS upholds CONI's initial suspension recommendation

    Italian Matteo Priamo has been handed a four-year suspension by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The rider, who rode with CSF-Navigare in 2008, was accused of doping, as well as supplying EPO-CERA to his then-teammate Emanuele Sella.

    The CAS has therefore upheld the suspension request made by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in January. The Italian National anti-doping Tribunal (TNA) in Rome exonerated Priamo of the charges, but CONI filed an appeal with CAS in April.

    "The CAS panel in charge of this case has upheld the appeal and has declared the athlete ineligible for a period of four years, commencing on 27 February 2009. Contrary to the findings of the TNA, the CAS panel considered that a violation of Articles 2.6 and 2.8 of the World anti-doping code (possession of prohibited substances and administration to any athlete of any prohibited substance) was sufficiently established to declare that Matteo Priamo was guilty of an anti-doping violation," read a CONI press release, issued on Thursday.

    Sella confessed to using the drug and was given a reduced one-year suspension in December for cooperating with the anti-doping authorities. He named Priamo as his supplier.

    Priamo won stage six of the 2008 Giro d'Italia, where his teammate Sella won three mountain stages and the mountains classification. Sella tested positive for EPO-CERA in an out-of-competition control in August 2008. He returned to competition in August this year at the Tre Valli Varesine with Italian continental squad Carmiooro Style-A.

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  • LeMond and Trek to consider settlement

    Greg LeMond
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 12:10 GMT
    By:
    Shane Stokes

    Trial could take place in March

    The dispute between Greg LeMond and Trek moved closer to a jury trial yesterday when U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kyle heard oral arguments connected to the case, and deferred ruling on two summary judgment motions.

    He suggested to both parties that an out-of-court settlement is considered in order to avoid what could be an explosive trial next spring.

    "We're certainly not averse to settling it," said LeMond’s attorney Jamie DiBoise, according to New York Daily News. Trek attorney Ralph Weber indicated that both sides would meet soon to decide availability for settlement talks.

    If those talks fail, the trial would take place in Minnesota next March. Judge Kyle reportedly indicated that allegations about Lance Armstrong would be part of that trial, and that the multiple Tour winner could be requested to appear.

    It is however thought likely that Armstrong could refuse, as distance limitations would mean that the court does not have the power to subpoena him.

    LeMond and Trek commenced their partnership in 1995 but relations became rocky when the triple Tour de France winner’s made comments about Armstrong, starting in 2001. He had publicly questioned the Texan’s previous ties to the controversial Italian doctor Michele Ferrari.

    LeMond alleges in the legal summons and complaint sent to Trek in March 2008 that Armstrong used his connections with Trek to get the company to put pressure on him to be silent. He also claims that the company effectively dropped its support for his brand, leading to a decrease in sales. As an example, he claims that between September of 2001 and June of 2007, Trek only sold $10,393 worth of his bikes in France.

    Last month, Armstrong’s ex-wife Kristin, was deposed by LeMond’s legal team in order to answer questions. She gave a sworn, videotaped deposition during which she repeatedly refused to answer questions pertaining to alleged drug use...

  • Bernaudeau tips Rolland for Tour top 10

    Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bougyues Telecom)
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 12:25 GMT
    By:
    Peter Cossins

    Bernaudeau insists Rolland is capable of high Tour de France finish

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau has never been backwards about coming forwards when it comes to bigging up the ability of the riders in his squad, and J-R has been at it again, insisting that Pierre Rolland can finish in the top 10 at the Tour de France.

    Speaking to French paper La République du Centre, Bernaudeau described Rolland as "a rare pearl" and "one of tomorrow’s leaders". Rolland, who only turned 23 last month, finished 22nd on his Tour de France debut in July.

    "I’m expecting to be in the mix for the general classification by playing the Pierre Rolland card," said Bernaudeau. "I would love for him to finish in the top 10 in Paris. He would need things to go his way, but he can do it. That’s a real novelty for our team," Bernaudeau added, overlooking similar claims he previously made for Sylvain Chavanel.

    "Pierre has shown that he is made for stage races. He’s got an excellent constitution and is made for the Tour de France," Bernaudeau said.

    While Rolland is highly rated in France and beyond, it is perhaps no coincidence that Bernaudeau is on the look-out for a new sponsor to replace Bbox at the end of 2010. Having a rider who may be France’s best Tour prospect for some years is not going to harm that objective.

    As for Rolland, he’s already been training hard on a fixed wheel bike. Speaking about the 2010 Tour de France route and his prospects, he told the paper: "There is the possibility that there will be echelons in the wind in the opening days and on the pavé… After that, with four stages in the Pyrenees, it will be difficult. The key will be to avoid un jour sans (a day without), because that could end up leaving a bad taste in the mouth." Spoken like a true team...

  • Elk Haus stops team sponsorship

    2009 will have been Steffen Radochla's second and final season with Elk Haus.
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 15:34 GMT
    By:
    Susan Westemeyer

    Austrian Professional Continental team ends after 2009

    Team Elk Haus is losing its title sponsor, and the Austrian Professional Continental team will leave the peloton. Many riders have already signed with other teams, and the team management tentatively is planning to take a year off before perhaps starting a new team.

    “Yes, that is the end of the team,” Elk Haus spokesman Wolfgang Wesely told Cyclingnews. “For 2010 we found no sponsor in Austria. We will try again to build up an Austrian team for 2011.”

    ELK Fertighaus AG announced that it is stopping its sponsorship of the team after 20 years of cycling sponsorship. “In times like this it is unfortunately not possible for us to consider this sponsorship due to financial reasons,” said ELK director Erich Weichselbaum. The firm, which sells and builds houses, including wooden houses, “must concentrate on our core business.”

    Bernhard Rassinger, the team manager, said, “Naturally we are very sorry that ELK must end its engagement. But we understand that this is a business decision.”

    It had been clear for a while that this step was likely, and Rassinger has looked for a new sponsor, without success. Many riders have already signed with other teams. “The time is going by, and we aren't getting any further. If the team is not competitive, then it is probably better to let it go and maybe wait for a year,” he told ORF.at.

    Elk Haus had seven victories this season, including Stefan Denifl's overall victory in the Thüringen Rundfahrt. Markus Eibegger brought in five of the team's wins. Eibegger and Matthias Brandle have both signed with Footon-Servetto for the coming year. Denifl will ride with Cervélo TestTeam in 2010.

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  • Tour wild card proposal good news for Vacansoleil

    Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) celebrates his win
    Article published:
    November 12, 2009, 17:55 GMT
    By:
    Richard Tyler

    Hoogerland pleased as new teams create squeeze for wild card Tour spots

    Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland has welcomed a proposal by Tour de France organisers to increase the number of wild card teams invited to the race, as new teams create a squeeze for the spots in 2010.

    Tour director Christian Prudhomme has floated the possibility that up to six wild card teams could be invited to the 2010 Tour de France, an increase of two over this year. Hoogerland today told Cyclingnews that the proposal was good news for his team, Vacansoleil, who are likely to face stiff competition for the wild cards spots from teams new to the peloton.

    "It's good for us of course because there's new, good teams like Sky and BMC in contention and it will be difficult [to get an invitation]," said Hoogerland. "If the Tour does issue more wild cards it will be much better for us."

    The concept of more wild card invitations for the Tour could be a necessary response to the changing shape of the peloton in 2010. With French teams Bbox Bougyues Telecom and Cofidis moving out of the ProTour for next season and a number of new teams, including Sky, BMC and RadioShack set to enter the peloton, there will be a squeeze for representation at major races.

    "Cadel Evans is now riding for BMC and Team Sky is going to be a huge team next year. They're two very good teams, RadioShack too," said Hoogerland. "They're still the same riders, just more teams."

    On paper, the team would appear to have done enough to grab the attention of Prudhomme's organisation. They finished the 2009 season 21st on the International Cycling Union's (UCI) team world rankings. The result placed them on terms with a number of ProTour squads, and ahead of fellow Dutch Pro Continental squad Skil-Shimano, who were one of the wild card teams invited to the 2009 Tour de France.

    Vacansoleil's final UCI ranking was, in part, provided by a strong performance at