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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 13, 2011

Date published:
October 13, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • USA Cycling reveals 2012 racing calendars

    Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad) ready to defend her jersey on the last stage.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 0:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Criterium Calendar debuts in NRC split

    USA Cycling rolled out its revamped national calendars today, revealing a slimmed-down National Racing Calendar, stripped of the major criteriums, which have been assembled into a National Criterium Calendar.

    In the 16th year for the NRC, men will have six and women will have eight events in a road race and stage race-only format. The series begins as usual with the Redlands Bicycle Classic in March, then moves to Arkansas for the Joe Martin Stage Race in April, Tour of the Gila in May and the women-only Liberty Classic in June.

    The Nature Valley Grand Prix and Cascade Classic follow in June and July. The men's Tour of Elk Grove, a UCI 2.1 event in 2012, is not on the NRC calendar, but the women's component is, as is the women-only Aspen Snowmass Stage Race.

    The men-only Univest Grand Prix in Pennsylvania closes out the NRC.

    The National Criterium Calendar, in contrast, is rich with 19 events, including the multi-day USA Crits Speedweek, Tulsa Tough, Tour of Americas Dairyland, Air Force Classic and Chris Thater Memorial as well as all of the major one-day criteriums across the nation.

    The decision to split the calendar into two series was announced earlier this year.

    "Criterium racing is a discipline dominated by riders whose skill sets differ from those who dominate longer-format road races," said USA Cycling's Managing Director of Events, Micah Rice. "We're excited to give this uniquely American discipline, as well as its top competitors, a chance to shine on its own."

    2012 National Racing Calendar

    March 22-25: Redlands Bicycle Classic (2.2), Redlands, CA – men and women
    April 26-29: Joe Martin Stage Race p/b Nature Valley (2.3), Fayetteville, AR – men and women
    May 2-6: SRAM Tour of the Gila (2.2), Silver City, NM – men and women
    June 3: Liberty Classic (1.HC) – Philadelphia, PA - women
    June 13-17: Nature Valley Grand Prix (2.1), MN -...

  • Sheppard gets breakthrough win for Plan B in Indonesia

    Eric Sheppard poses with his Plan B Racing teammates.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 1:10 BST
    Alex Hinds

    20-year-old earns early birthday present for himself on Asian Tour

    Eric Sheppard (Plan B Racing), a graduate of the Victorian Institute of Sport, has conquered the 2.2 rated Tour d'Indonesia after seeing out the final day of racing on Wednesday around Jarak.

    The diminuitive climber, who turns 21 on October 16, proved the strongest over the 10 days to take the biggest win of his so far short career. The victory was thanks to a determined effort from the Plan B Racing team who had a make-shift team of five riders in Indonesia against some of the best squads on the UCI's Asian Tour.

    Team manager Wayne Evans praised the work of his riders and thanked the team's sponsors and supporters in a release.

    "Eric is clearly a talented cyclist and has only been riding for a few short years, so to be able to win a 10 day international tour is a great display of his talent," said Evans. "It's a fantastic result."

    "He had a great team behind him in a very experienced Nathan Dahlberg, Ex 7 Eleven and Motorola Pro who raced the Tour De France and major classics in Europe, Alex Malone and two new recruits to Plan B in Aaron Slavik and Luke Joyce. [The fact we also had] a local Indonesian Manager in Oki Rosgani also helped a lot, and he was a pleasure to work with.

    Evans added that he was keen on keeping Sheppard with the team next year, and is exploring options at the moment to figure out an arrangement that suits all parties.

    Plan B has enjoyed a rare run in Indonesia over the past month with Sam Davis coming close to overall victory himself in the recent Tour of East Java. The victory however marks the team's first stage race victory on the Asian Tour and continues their progression in the sport.

  • Lloyd ready to "put the hammer down"

    Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma - Lotto) won a stage earlier in the Giro d'Italia.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 9:41 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    2010 Giro King of the Mountains back in action at Jayco Herald Sun Tour

    It may only be his second day back in a serious race following his acrimonious split with Omega Pharma-Lotto and the ensuing six months of down time, but Matt Lloyd was out to prove that his competitiveness has not depreciated during the second stage of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour.

    He may not have won Thursday's stage, which finished in Geelong, but Lloyd, who is riding for the Australian National Team, was still able to finish with a smile on his face.

    "The happiness you get from not only being able to race and enjoying pushing yourself, I've noticed over the last couple of days that you forget about that, you don't worry about how painful it is sometimes," Lloyd said.

    "It just feels good to be among the guys and enjoying the camaraderie, the things that cycling is all about – it's been really nice."

    After cranking back into action and getting day one out of his system, Lloyd was back in near-full swing over the latter half of Wednesday's stage, even claiming six points on the final KOM of the day, at Perdisat, a climb some riders described as "murder".

    "Today was a lot better than yesterday, which I expected," Lloyd explained post-race. "When it comes to the shorter, sharper intensity that you can't really simulate in training, the characteristics of the course have been good.

    "It's got a lot of flat stuff, so you can get the aerobic [work] going as well, but also a lot of shorter stuff as well to stimulate the system. The last half of today was nice, I’m feeling a lot better, as opposed to yesterday, it was a huge difference.

    "So come the weekend, the system should be functioning correctly."

    In the run-up to the event, Lloyd admitted that his focus is on the...

  • WADA withdraws appeal in Nielsen Clenbuterol case

    Philip Nielsen wins the final stage.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 10:51 BST
    Cycling News

    Danish cycling union had dismissed charges citing contaminated Mexican meat

    The World Anti-Doping Agency has withdrawn its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the dismissal of charges that Danish rider Philip Nielsen doped with Clenbuterol. WADA has apparently accepted Nielsen's contention that he ate contaminated meat whilst racing in Mexico.

    Nielsen, then riding for the Continental-ranked team Concordia Forsikring-Himmerland, had won the final stage of the Vuelta a Mexico in April 2010 when he tested positive. The results of the doping control were not announced until January of this year, at which point the team released him.

    In March of this year, the Danish cycling federation said it would not sanction him, ruling that the substance came from contaminated food and that Nielsen was not negligent or at fault. WADA appealed that decision to CAS, but has now withdrawn its appeal.

    Nielsen had denied using the product and claimed he must have ingested it from contaminated food from the buffet at his hotel in Mexico. He joined the Christina Watches team in May, and is currently looking for a contract for the coming season.

    WADA also withdrew its appeal in a similar case concerning five Mexican football players.  WADA said that  it had “received compelling evidence from a FIFA study at the U17 World Cup in Mexico that indicates a serious health problem in Mexico with regards to meat contaminated with clenbuterol. This is a public health issue that is now being addressed urgently by the Mexican Government.”

    It is not known how this might affect the Clenbuterol doping case against Alberto Contador, who tested positive at the 2010 Tour de France. The Spanish cycling federation earlier this year...

  • Luxembourg-based Continental team for RadioShack-Nissan

    Team manager Johan Bruyneel has finalized Radioshack's 2010 roster.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 11:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Grand Duchy looks to welcome Tour de France in 2014 or 2015

    The new RadioShack-Nissan squad is touted to set up a Luxembourg-based feeder team at Continental level next season, according to a report in Le Quotidien.

    RadioShack already has a feeder team in the shape of Trek-Livestrong and the squad directed by Axel Merckx will continue to operate next season. However, following the merger with Leopard Trek, team manager Johan Bruyneel and backer Flavio Becca are keen to have a Luxembourg feel to the set-up.

    To that end, Laurent Didier (currently at Saxo Bank-Sungard) will join the Schleck brothers in the elite team, and Bruyneel is rumoured to be considering setting up a Continental squad based around young Luxembourg talent Bob Jungels. The 19-year-old was junior world time trial champion in 2010 and has attracted the attention of a number of WorldTour teams.

    A decision on the formation of the Continental team is expected in the coming weeks, and any such squad would be comprised largely of espoirs from the Grand Duchy.

    Meanwhile, Luxembourg has announced its candidacy to host stages of the Tour de France in either 2014 or 2015. The application, which was lodged with ASO in March, was formally announced at a ceremony on Wednesday night that also saw Fränk and Andy Schleck and Kim Kirchen receive medals of merit from the ministry of sport.

    “The request was formulated by making ASO understand how good it would be if the Tour passed through Luxembourg while the Schleck brothers are still racing,” a ministry of sport sportsman told Le Quotidien.

  • Kirchen working for Luxembourg Sports Ministry

    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 12:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Hasn't ruled out comeback but calls it “unlikely”

    Kim Kirchen has started working part time for the Luxembourg Sports Ministry, casting further doubt on any ambitions he may have had to return as a rider.

    Kirchen suffered a heart attack at the age of 31 during the 2010 Tour de Suisse. He was placed in an induced coma and was in hospital for three weeks. He has also had a pace-maker implanted in his heart. It is still unknown why he had the heart attack.

    “Certainly a comeback is becoming more unlikely. But as long as I don't have all the facts in front of me, I can't say anything about it,” he told

    Kirchen and the Schleck brothers were this week awarded the “médaille du mérite sportif en argent“ for their contributions to Luxembourg sport.

    He now works in “the technical section” of the Ministry. “Various projects are planned, in which I will be involved.

    While he hasn't given up hope of a comeback, he has now started looking to other alternatives.  “At some point I had to start looking around for something else, and the Sports Ministry offered me their help. My support is now needed. At some point you have to leave certain things behind you and go new ways.”

  • Aldag questions Sky's ability to win Tour yellow and green

    Rolf Aldag chats at the start.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 13:06 BST
    Daniel Benson

    German calls it a gamble to split team for Wiggins and Cavendish

    Rolf Aldag has questioned whether Team Sky can build a successful team around Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish at the 2012 Tour de France. New recruit Cavendish won this year’s points jersey while Wiggins is the team’s GC contender, but Aldag, who was part of HTC’s management has called the move ‘a gamble’ and cast doubt on whether a modern team can fight on two fronts in the world's biggest bike race.

    The last team to complete a yellow-green double was Telekom in 1996 and 1997. Aldag formed part of those successes, as well as guiding Cavendish to all his 20 Tour de France stage wins but believes that it would be gamble for Sky to aim for both jerseys in 2012.

    “You can try but it’s gambling and it’s tricky for both the riders and the managers. One thing is obvious, if they believe that Wiggins can go for yellow they can’t compromise and give Cavendish four guys for the sprints. If they stretch it and think both riders have chance of achieving their goals, then honestly they don’t really believe in Wiggins,” Aldag told Cyclingnews.

    “When they put out the final 9 names both riders will see what the team thinks about their leaders. There’s no other way around it.”

    “Making four for GC you can turn them around and put them on the flat but if they believe Wiggins can win the Tour then Cav deserves one guy with him and that’s about it.”

    Aldag also directly questioned whether Sky could give Cavendish the full backing he was indulged with at HTC-Highroad. The sprinter was always the first rider down on the...

  • Hansen struggles in first year with Omega Pharma-Lotto

    Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma-Lotto) from Queensland powers into the finish in Learmonth.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 15:25 BST
    Jane Aubrey

    Greipel's leadout man has no regrets about leaving Highroad

    When Andre Greipel made the decision to move to Omega Pharma-Lotto from HTC-Columbia at the end of 2010, Adam Hansen followed having been gradually been shifted from supporting Mark Cavendish to the big German. An essential part of Griepel's 21 wins last season, the Australian's first season with the Belgian outfit hasn't generated the same results.

    It was a move that Hansen has no doubt found frustrating throughout the year but his season has finally started coming together following the Tour of Poland, the Vuelta a Espana and last week, the Tour of Beijing before heading to Australia for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. It all boils down to the fact that the 30-year-old is getting solid stage racing under his belt – something which had been light on in the early part of the year.

    "My start of the season wasn't so good – I ran a different program," Hansen explained to Cyclingnews. "Then with the classics I didn't do so well, and I don't normally do them. It was hard after that to get back to normal routine and I wasn't selected for the Tour [de France]."

    Hansen attacked the field on Thursday on the opening KOM of the 140km, second stage from Sovereign Hill to Geelong. He was first over the Mt. Buninyong climb and eventually finished seventh in a bunch finish.

    Prior to this season, Hansen had been a key member of the well-oiled, finely-tuned machine that was the Highroad leadout train which would take on stage races with three or four national time trial champions, allowing for an extra strength that was almost taken for granted.

    "In HTC we had such good quality time trialists and you don't realise that until you don't have them," he said. "When you have them there, every thing's easy."

    Given Highroad's demise and now many of Cavendish's key lead out men are going...