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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, November 25, 2010

Date published:
November 25, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Thomas admits Sky placed too much emphasis on Tour de France

    Geraint Thomas warms up for the men's scratch race.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 12:47 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Welsh rider looking forward to 2011

    Geraint Thomas was one of Team Sky’s strongest performers in 2010 but the national road champion believes that too much emphasis from the media and the team was placed on success at the Tour de France.

    Sky started the 2010 season with the Tour as one of their major goals. They went to the race with high hopes for overall with Bradley Wiggins, while Edvald Boasson Hagen was tipped as a candidate for the points jersey.

    However, the team wilted in their debut and came away without a top-ten finish in GC or a stage win. One shining light was Thomas’ performance: he led the young riders’ competition for several days and finished second on the thrilling stage to Arenberg.

    “At the Tour right from the start, it was all about Brad and Sky and that was how we were going to be judged. However, we showed that there are a lot of other races out there that we did well in,” Thomas told Cyclingnews.

    “Obviously with the UK media the Tour is the Tour and that’s pretty much it. With Sky that was all we focused on, or the main thing, and I think we all got wrapped up in that and I think some of the other races could have been a bit better.”

    As for races outside of the Tour de France, Thomas added: “I think the focus wasn’t on them. We just went to them and did them, so to speak. I think now a lot of the riders and the staff have been together for a year now and there’s so much more of a base to work from”

    Last week senior directeur sportif, Sean Yates, admitted that their ambitions of winning the Tour with Wiggins in 2010 were "possibly unrealistic,” while Dave Brailsford added that the team had learnt some hard lessons in their first year on the road.

    A get-together in Windsor gave the entire staff a chance to reflect on the season and put the wheels in motion for a strong 2011. It was also an opportunity for some of the team’s new...

  • Cipollini promises young Katusha riders a sprinting master class

    Mario Cipollini and Andrei Tchmil shake hands on the deal
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 14:49 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Former world champion offers olive branch to Pozzato

    Mario Cipollini has confirmed he will give the young Russian riders at the Katusha team a ‘master class’ in sprinting, teaching them the secrets and skills of a successful leadout train that helped him win so much during his own career.

    The 2002 world road race champion will be a consultant with the Katusha team but will not work with the team’s leading riders after Filippo Pozzato made it clear he had no need of his advice. In the past Cipollini has criticised Pozzato, saying he should work harder if he wants to win more races.

    However Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil wanted Cipollini to work with his riders. The two rode together at the GB-MG Maglificio team in 1992 and 1993 and share a hard-nosed approach to racing.

    “I’ll be a consultant to the team, with the specific role of helping develop the young Russian sprinters in the team,” Cipollini told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    “l’ll start off quietly and with respect for everybody else’s roles within the team. Nobody knows the young riders but the team management is betting on them doing well and I’ve got to help them develop.”

    “I’ll offer my experience and teach them how to set up a lead out train and finish off the job. I’ll be giving a master class in sprinting. To direct a train a sprinter needs charisma as well as excellent ability.”

    Cipollini will join the Katusha team at their winter training in Calpe, Spain in December and then work with the Continental and Under 23 teams in Cyprus, Greece.

    “Most of my work will be between now and February. When the race calendar gets under way, my work will be done and hopefully the team will know how to carry on without me.”

    Pozzato against Cipollini’s arrival

    Cipollini won a massive 191 races during his 16-year career. He retired in 2005 and initially worked with the...

  • Euskaltel-Euskadi reveal 2011 objectives

    Vuelta leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi)
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 17:39 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Sanchez set to target the Tour, Anton goes for the Giro

    Fresh from confirmation of his team’s ProTeam status for 2011, Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has drawn up his squad’s programme for next season: Igor Anton will lead the Basque team at the Giro d’Italia, while Samuel Sanchez will be aiming to finish on the podium at the Tour de France.

    “The team is ready to go to next year’s Giro with Igor Anton with high expectations: not to see what happens, but with ambition,” Gonzalez de Galdeano told El Correo. “Igor likes that race. Beware of him at this Giro.”

    While recognising that home teams such as Liquigas will have both the quality and the motivation to ride on the front of the race for three weeks, Gonzalez de Galdeano maintains that Anton will have his say in Italy.

    “Anton will be at 100 per cent. We know that the Italians will all be there, but we will stay in the shadows and not take on too much responsibility,” Gonzalez de Galdeano explained. “It’s a race which we can adapt too very well. In principle, the objective is a stage, something we’ve never achieved there, but Igor has made a big leap, both physically and psychologically, and he’s capable of more.”

    Anton impressed at this season’s Vuelta a España until he crashed out of the race on stage 14 while wearing the leader’s red jersey. Gonzalez de Galdeano is convinced that his man was primed to take overall victory and believes that Anton will be a serious contender at both the Giro and the Vuelta in 2011.

    “We demonstrated for the first time that we were capable of winning the Vuelta,” he said. “Now that Anton is 28 years old, he is old enough to do two major tours.”

    Sanchez to aim for Tour podium and more

    While Anton will spearhead the Basque challenge for the maglia rosa, Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez will return...

  • US masters racer suspended for EPO use

    EPO and cycling. A bit of a cliche'.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 19:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    45-year-old stripped of results since 2006

    45-year-old Michigan resident Neal Schubel received a two-year suspension for EPO use, the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced today. The rider from Saginaw was banned "based on his purchase, possession and use of synthetic erythropoietin (EPO)", the press release stated.

    Schubel's sanction started on November 18, 2010, when he accepted the ruling, but dates back to August 1, 2006, "the date he first committed the anti-doping rule violation based on his prompt admission to USADA after being confronted with evidence in USADA’s possession".

    USADA stripped Schubel of his results from August 1, 2006 onward. USA Cycling lists only a dozen results in that time frame - a mix of road and cross country events, the best of which was a fourth place in the Tour De Frankenmuth in 2008.

  • US pair out as crashes mar U25 Gent Six Day

    The view from the stands in Gent
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 20:07 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australians take over as leaders on day two

    Before the second day of the Memorial Noël Foré, the U25 version of the Gent Six Day in Belgium, the US pair Justin Williams and Jesse Marans were already out of the race due to a crash during the warm-up. The pair came down hard on the steeply-banked wooden track, and were taken to a nearby hospital, both with suspected broken collarbones.

    The racing action resumed with only 11 teams taking part, but in the day's Madison a huge crash claimed most of the Belgian teams. Jochen De Weer was unable to continue, while Giovanni de Merlier had to stop for an extended time to get medical care. De Merlier's partner Lennert Buysse broke his bike in two.

    New Zealander Christopher Macic, partnered with Belgian Francesco van Coppernolle, reportedly sparked the crash and decided to stop.

    The crash knocked the aggression out of the racers, and the remaining eight teams fought only for points at the sprints. Australians Alex Carver and Jackson Law gained enough points to gain the race lead over the British pair Jonathan Mould and Simon Yates.

    The Swiss duo Claudio Imhof and Silvan Dillier leapfrogged the British, taking second at 10 points behind Carver and Law, one point in front of Mould and Yates.

  • Gilbert honoured as Belgium's best rider

    Tour of Lombardy winner Philippe Gilbert uncorks the bubbly in Como.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 22:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Omega Pharma-Lotto star awarded Kristallen Fiets

    Following his most successful season to date, Belgian Philippe Gilbert was honoured with the coveted Kristallen Fiets (Crystal Bike) for the third year in a row.

    The prize is awarded to the best Belgian rider of the year by the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.

    Gilbert outpaced his own teammate Jurgen Van den Broeck in the voting, netting 676 points to Van den Broeck's 456. Sprinter Tom Boonen was a distant third with 204, while Bjorn Leukemans and Sven Nys rounded out the top five.

    Omega Pharma-Lotto also claimed the best manager prize with Marc Sergeant, while newcomer Yannick Eijssen took the award for best young rider.

    Gilbert's award follows the Flandrien Trofee, the rider of the year prize awarded by Het Nieuwsblad.

    "Another prize," joked Gilbert at the ceremony in Brussels Midi on Wednesday. "It's becoming a habit! It is always nice, of course. But I'm actually thinking more of 2011 than on what I've accomplished in 2010."

    The list of what Gilbert accomplished this year was impressive: podium finishes in Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen were followed by a pre-announced victory at the Amstel Gold Race.

    Gilbert returned after his mid-season break to two stage wins and five days in the leader's jersey at the Vuelta a Espana, and while his world championship bid went unfulfilled, wins in the Gran Piemonte and Giro di Lombardia closed out the season on a high note.

    The goals for the Belgian still are yet to be completed, however. With five classics already under his belt (Paris-Tours 2008, 2009, Giro di Lombardia 2009, 2010 and Amstel Gold 2010), Gilbert has an eye on completing the set.

    "I still have dreams. Scoring the classics which I have not won yet for example. The Tour of Flanders, Liège - Bastogne - Liège, Milan-San Remo and why not Paris-Roubaix? I look forward to a possible duel with Tom Boonen in the Tour of Flanders," he said.

  • Pegasus Sports signs Denis, Avery and Lapthorne

    This will be good: Rohan Dennis gives the thumbs-up for Australia prior to racing in Geelong.
    Article published:
    November 24, 2010, 23:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian team adds local talent

    The Pegasus Sports team today announced the signing of Australians Rohan Denis and Darren Lapthorne and New Zealander Clinton Robert Avery to the squad for 2011.

    Denis, 20, comes from Team Jayco – Skins as the U23 time trial national champion and world champion in the team pursuit. He also claimed the overall victory and two stages at the Tour of Geelong.

    Avery, 22, rode this season as a trainee for Team RadioShack. A former national mountain bike champion in cross-country, he has two U23 titles on the road. His victories this year include the Vlaamse Pijl Harelbeke as well as the GP Stad Roeselare.

    Lapthorne, 27, was the 2007 national road champion. He rode the past two seasons with Rapha Condor.

    The trio will join veterans Robbie McEwen and Robbie Hunter on the new squad, which will race at the Professional Continental level after being turned down for a top-tier ProTeams license by the UCI.

    "I'm excited to welcome these three emerging talents to the Pegasus team," said Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White. "Each brings with him a special quality and lots of promise, so I'm looking forward to seeing these guys develop to their full potential. I know that our supportive team environment is the right place for this to happen."

  • Charles Coyle suspended for two years

    Some forms of blood doping can only be detected through the passports.
    Article published:
    November 25, 2010, 2:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    US 'cross racer bought and used EPO and IGF-1

    Charles 'Chuck' Coyle has been suspended for two years for "his purchase, possession and use of synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) and insulin growth factor (IGF-1)".

    The United States Anti-Doping Agency released news of the suspension yesterday, stating that "Coyle's two-year period of ineligibility began on November 24, 2010, the day he accepted the sanction.

    "Additionally, Coyle is disqualified from all competitive results achieved on and subsequent to June 13, 2007, the date he first committed the anti-doping rule violation based on evidence in USADA’s possession, including forfeiture of any medals, points and prizes," according to the statement.

    Coyle has won nine races in 2010, including the Colorado state masters criterium championships, the Boulder Roubaix Road Race, the sprinter's competition at the Tour of Utah and a stage of the same event.

    He has been racing cyclo-cross for Hudz-Subaru, a team in which he had he had 20 percent equity, although he's now relinquished his ownership interest and has been fired by the squad's management.

    He has previously raced for Vitamin Cottage, 7Up/NutraFig and Successful Living and his sanction was the result of evidence gathered by the Agency rather than a positive test, hence the annulment of results from the June 13, 2007 date.