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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 15, 2009

Date published:
October 15, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • 2010 Tour de France: Northern stages favoured by Quick Step riders

    Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2009, 16:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian riders happy with cobbled stages

    While some of the overall contenders for the 2010 Tour de France may look with fear upon the route's early stages in Belgium and Northern France, the Quick Step team and Classics specialist Tom Boonen will certainly be aiming for victory on familiar terrain.

    The route of stage one to Brussels may bypass the cobbled sectors made famous in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, stage two will pass over a portion of the route of the Ardennes Classic Liège - Bastogne - Liège and stage three will traverse a demanding 13.2km of cobbled sectors.

    "This edition of the Tour will be special for Belgian riders and those who enjoy the northern classics," said Boonen. "The finish lines in Brussels and Spa are truly evocative. The third stage in Arenberg promises to be spectacular, with 11 kilometers of cobblestones during the last 30 kilometers in the race. It will be like a small classic and could bring some surprises."

    Sylvain Chavanel considers the second week as more suited to his skills. "I'm thinking for example of the stages at Revel or Mende, which are very similar to the Colmar stage in the 2009 Tour. It's going to be fun. The odds-on favorites are always the same, but I think Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador are a step ahead of the rest."

    Two-time Tour of Flanders champion Stijn Devolder said the days in the Pyrenees will be the decisive stages, but also warns of the dangers of the cobbles on stage three.

    "The Arenberg stage will be spectacular, and dangerous for smaller sized riders like the climbers, who will have a tougher time than others with this finish line."

    Jerome Pineau observed that the route gave opportunities for every type of rider. "The first part reminds me of the 2004 Tour when the cobblestones surprised a lot of the riders, including some of the guys in the top of the standings. The first week will be different than the ones we're used to. There will be curves, small roads, cobbles…...

  • Lefevere still hopes to sign Contador

    Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere hopes to sign Alberto Contador for the 2010 season.
    Article published:
    October 14, 2009, 17:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Contador could choose four teammates if he joins Quick Step

    Patrick Lefevere, manager of the Quick Step team, still hopes to sign Alberto Contador for the 2010 season "There are three candidates for Alberto to choose: Garmin, Caisse d'Epargne and us," Lefevere told De Telegraaf.

    Lefevere, in attendance at Wednesday's presentation in Paris of the 2010 Tour de France, wants the two-time Tour de France champion to choose his team and he's stated that Contador could select four teammates if he joins the Belgian ProTour squad next year.

    Contador, 26, has one more year in his contract with Astana and the team has already said he would remain for 2010. Contador said in recent months, however, that he prefers to leave the team. A move by Contador to another squad, however, is complicated by the fact that his Astana contract lacks a buy-out clause.

    "This [Astana] team is not the same as that which he was signed," said Lefevere. "No fewer than 24 people have since moved from Astana. I do not know if, and when, Alberto will be released. It is evident that we change our team if he chooses us. He can choose four teammates."

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  • Bruyneel cleared for departure from Astana

    Johan Bruyneel ties up a few loose ends before the start of stage one.
    Article published:
    October 14, 2009, 19:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Former Festina manager Sanquer named as replacement

    Johan Bruyneel has reportedly secured a termination of his contract with the Kazakh cycling federation and Astana team, clearing the way for him to join Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team in 2010, L'Equipe reported Wednesday.

    The Belgian had one more year on his contract, but fought to leave the outfit after difficulties in obtaining payments from the Kazakhs during the season.

    Yvon Sanquer was named as the replacement for the man who led teams to eight Tour de France victories. Sanquer was previously a director at the Festina team from 1999-2001 and the team Mutuelle de Seine et Marne in the mid-90s.

  • Zomegnan praises Tour's 2010 course

    Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan
    Article published:
    October 14, 2009, 19:53 BST
    Gregor Brown

    A vote of 10 for 2010 Tour de France from Giro d'Italia boss

    The Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan praised the design of the 2010 Tour de France, giving it a score of 10 out of 10. The Tour organiser ASO presented the race route in Paris today, 10 days ahead of the Giro d'Italia route presentation.

    "I always give a vote of ten on the others' designs," Zomegnan told Cyclingnews.

    ASO presented a 3600-km course that starts in Rotterdam, Netherlands on July 3, and heads over the roads of Liège - Bastogne - Liège and Paris-Roubaix in the first week. The first mountains come in the Alps at Morzine and Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. There are four Pyrenean mountain stages in the final week, with the Col du Tourmalet stage only four days before the finish in Paris on July 25.

    "It is a more complicated course than the past, and more demanding. There's the Tourmalet, the celebration of 100 years since its introduction into the Tour de France."

    It is only the second time since 1974 that the a stage will finish on the Tourmalet. Frenchman Jean-Pierre Danguillaume won on the race's last visit. The climb is also included in stage 16 to Pau.

    Zomegnan and Giro organiser RCS Sport will present their race October 24 in Milano. RCS sport announced last week that it will hold the presentation at East End Studios, recording set of Italian television show X-Factor.

    Like the Tour de France, the Giro will start in The Netherlands. It will hold three stages there, all starting in Amsterdam.

  • Sastre: 2010 Tour is spectacular for climbers

    Carlos Sastre (Cervelo TestTeam)
    Article published:
    October 14, 2009, 21:56 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard considers next year's Tour harder than 2009 edition

    Carlos Sastre, the 2008 Tour de France champion, did not attend today's 2010 Tour de France presentation in Paris, but intently followed the proceedings via the Internet. "I could see the route of the Tour and the comments of many of my next opponents," said Sastre, choosing to stay at home in Avila, Spain.

    "I think it's a hard Tour, harder than this year, and this time favoring the non-time trialists, i.e. the climbers, as in my case. I think in that sense it is a spectacular Tour for climbers apart from those stages with pavé at the beginning of the Tour, with sections of Liège and Paris-Roubaix."

    While Sastre did not make an appearance in Paris, two of his Cervélo TestTeam teammates were there in person. "My absence is due mainly to two riders on the team for whom I was excited to attend the event - Thor Hushovd, who has done a great Tour de France, and Heinrich Haussler. I already knew from other years what the presentation entails. I decided to forgo it because I wanted to be home and relax a bit."

    Sastre is currently unsure of which races he'll concentrate on during the 2010 season. "At this moment I have still not decided what races I am going to do next year," said the 34-year-old Spaniard. "Until I know the route of the Vuelta a España I do not want to commit in advance to any event. In a week's time the route of the Giro d'Italia will be known and once I know all the routes [of the Grand Tours] I will be able to take stock and decide which of them is going to be a key target in 2010."

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  • Feillu hopes for Tour invite

    Stage winner Brice Feillu (Agritubel) made France proud.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 9:40 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Andorra-Arcalis stage winner needs team wildcard for 2010

    Brice Feillu, the new French climbing sensation, attended the Tour de France presentation in Paris yesterday without knowing whether or not he will be able to race the event next year. Together with his older brother Romain, Feillu has signed with Dutch Continental Pro team Vacansoleil for 2010, and the squad will need an invitation by the Tour organisers to participate.

    Feillu, who won stage seven to Andorra-Arcalis in this year's event, remained however hopeful that his and his team's performance this year would be honoured. "We don't have any guarantees but still good chances of doing the Tour next year," the 24-year-old told L'Equipe reporters after the presentation. "The team performed well this year. It won a stage in the Vuelta with Borut Bozic. Johnny Hoogerland finished 12th on general classification. It's a team whith which Romain and I want to make progress."

    The Frenchman, who already wore the mountains jersey at the 2009 Tour, added that if the team was invited, the target of taking the jersey to Paris could be a possibility. "If I can jump in the right breakaway to score a lot of points and put on a great performance right from the beginning, it's possible," he continued. "Morzine, Gap, Mende, all of these stages could suit me, as well as the Tourmalet, which is a beautiful pass. There is also the Col de la Madeleine which many riders fear, and which I don't know yet. If I have the chance of riding the Tour, I will reconnoitre it."

    The Tour organiser's decision on which teams will get a wildcard invitation should nevertheless be influenced by France's hopes of seeing another Frenchman win the mountain classification again, six years after Richard Virenque, the last French winner of the polkadot. Moreover, his brother Romain has also excelled at the Tour before, wearing the maillot jaune in 2008.

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  • Farrar even bigger rival for Cavendish in 2010 Tour

    Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) strides onto the podium in Tournai.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 11:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Brit's sprint dominance may be under threat

    After taking six stage victories at this year's Tour de France, Mark Cavendish's dominance in the sprints may be under threat from Tyler Farrar in the 2010 edition of la grande boucle.

    The route for next season's Tour edition was unveiled yesterday in Paris and the American fast man, who has enjoyed a stellar 2009, could well be the rider to tame Columbia-HTC's undisputed sprint king.

    "It's an interesting course; the organisers always try to make it exciting and there's a prologue," Farrar told The Wenatchee World. He wasn't in the French capital for the presentation but followed it online. "It's a little longer than is ideal for me, but I think it will be good way to start with hopefully a good result early," he added.

    Farrar broke through in the Grand Tours this season with a stage win in Caravaca de la Cruz at the Vuelta a España, the pinnacle of a great year that included victories at Tirreno-Adriatico, the Delta Tour Zeeland, the Hamburg Cyclassics and dominance at the Circuit Franco-Belge.

    He narrowly missed a stage win at this year's Tour, although after his experience in Spain he should go into next July with added confidence. "Usually, in the Grand Tours there's at least six, but maybe eight or nine sprinters' stages," continued Farrar.

    "I raced better later in the [2009] season; I had better legs after the Tour than during," he said. "I think next year, the team will have more confidence in me at the Tour. I think we'll have two or three guys there for me in lead-outs instead of one."

    In terms of the route, Farrar is familiar with the roads of the sprint stages, which only serves to improve his chances. "If a stage ends on a certain road, I might know where there's a certain small hill or a tricky corner. I've raced most of the road at one time or another," he explained.

    Having ridden three Grand Tours in 2009, Farrar knows what to expect from the year's big events and can plan his...

  • Sergeant: No team time trial should open Tour field

    Evans and Silence-Lotto manager Marc Sergeant at Omega Pharma's headquarters.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2009, 11:45 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Silence-Lotto better suited to 2010 Tour route

    Lotto team manager Marc Sergeant has said that with no team time trial in the 2010 Tour de France route, there could be a possible chink in Alberto Contador's armour, with the Spaniard aiming to defend his second Tour de France title next July.

    Sergeant, who is still hoping to strengthen his team around Cadel Evans after releasing Thomas Dekker and Bernhard Kohl in 2009 for taking the banned substances EPO and CERA EPO - the latter having never raced under Lotto colours - believes that without a team test against the clock, Contador will struggle to impose himself on the race as he and his team did in 2009.

    "The two aspects that harmed us last year were that Astana had a very strong team and then that in the time trial they put over a minute into the next team and over two and half minutes into us. From then on they had control over the Tour. It will be different next year," Sergeant said.

    However, despite no team time trial Sergeant still believes that Contador will be the number one favourite: "I've said it before but if you're born in this generation and you're at the start with Contador it's so hard to beat him in a big tour and it will be the same again next year," said Sergeant.

    "If there is an opportunity or a weakness it might be to do with which team he's in. If it's Astana then we know it won't be as strong as last year."

    As for his team leader Evans, Sergeant believes that despite his poor showing at the Tour de France in 2009, the Australian deserves to be backed again, pointing to the fact that Evans has only once finished outside of the top ten - last year - and doubled as the runner up in 2007 and 2008.

    "We have Evans and he's proven over the years that he's a good leader and just because of what happened this year doesn't mean that were going to say that we want someone else. We have Jurgen Van Den Broeck who is one year older and more experienced but clearly Cadel is number one, Van den Broeck is...