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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 21, 2010

Date published:
October 21, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Luxembourg Pro Cycling snaps up Bennati and Viganò

    Daniel Bennati (Liquigas - Doimo)
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 16:36 BST
    Cycling News

    Nizzolo and Pires also join the Schleck team

    The Luxembourg Pro Cycling team has announced the signing of Daniele Bennati as well as Davide Viganò, Giacomo Nizzolo and Bruno Pires.

    The news comes a day after General Manager Brian Nygaard told Cyclingnews at the 2011 Tour de France route presentation that signings would be announced in the coming weeks and that a full team presentation would be made in Luxembourg in January.

    Bennati joins after spending the last three seasons at Liquigas and has won over 50 professional races, including the points jerseys in both the Giro and the Vuelta.

    “Bennati is such a classy rider and we are very happy to have him,” General Manager Brian Nygaard said.

    “He is really passionate about our project and I’m sure he’ll be a significant addition to our line-up. He has won many impressive victories, but I actually don’t think we have seen his best yet. I see him flourishing in the right environment and I believe we can provide that for him.”

    Bennati last two seasons have been effected be injuries but he has still won over 15 races in that time and aims to hit the ground running in 2011.

    “My objectives for the coming season are to get off to a good start from the first and try to make the most of Tirreno-Adriatico in order to be supremely prepared for the Milan San Remo,” Bennati said.

    “The team will be shooting to do well in the Classics and the Grand Tours,” Bennati said. “We have a strong group of riders who are the right age to start securing some major victories, and I want to be right in there providing the best support to the team that I possibly can.”

     Davide Viganò joins from Team Sky, where he rode for just one season, but the 26-year-old is looking forward to a new start. The Italian could feature as a leadout man for Bennati or a sprinter in his own right.

    “I was immediately interested...

  • Sierra Nevada on 2011 Vuelta route

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) in the mountains jersey at the Vuelta.
    Article published:
    October 20, 2010, 16:48 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Andalucía to host two stages of the race

    The 2011 edition of the Vuelta a España will feature a summit finish at the Sierra Nevada ski resort in southern province of Andalucia. The news was announced at an initial presentation of the Andalucía-Caja Granada team by Luciano Alonso, the provincial government’s representative for tourism, commerce and sport.

    Alonso revealed that Andalucía is set to host two stages of next year’s race, although he did not give the dates they will take place. Pressed for further details, Alonso added: “I can tell you that the finish line for one of them will be at the Sierra Nevada, the jewel of Andalucian tourism and sport.”

    Sierra Nevada last hosted a stage finish of the Vuelta in 2008, when Frenchman David Moncoutié took the victory on his way to the first of three consecutive mountains titles in Spain’s national tour.

    The budget for the Andalucía-Caja Granada team will be just under two million euros, the regional government supplying a little more than half of this and new co-sponsor Caja Granada a little less.

    The team will feature 10 of the 16 riders on this season’s Andalucía-Cajasur roster: Antonio Piedra, José Luis Roldán, Javier Ramírez, Manuel Ortega, Juan Javier Estrada, Pablo Lechuga, Antonio Cabello, Sergio Carrasco, José Vicente Toribio and Jesús Rosendo.

    Six new signings have already been made by team, which has applied for Pro Continental status: Eloy Ruiz, Juan José Lobato, José Luis Cano, José Alberto Benítez, Adrián Palomares and David Bernabéu.

  • Curve releases professional equivalent rain jacket

    Curve's new Proline Professional GT Rain Jacket supposedly uses a just-for-pros pattern that the factory is now making available to the public in limited quantities.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 3:27 BST
    James Huang

    Want a rain jacket like the pros? Curve has them – but it'll cost you

    Custom clothing company Curve (yes, the same folks that did all those CNC machined mountain bike bits back in the day) has announced the release of a limited-edition rain jacket that it claims is virtually identical to the ones many of us have seen worn by some professional riders – but not necessarily in local shops.

    Key features for the made-in-Italy Proline Professional GT Rain Jacket include waterproof and breathable nylon fabrics with a microporous polyurethane coating and taped seams, a Velcro front closure instead of a full zip, stretchable fleece cuffs and a soft collar lining, stretch armpits, and reflective piping for visibility (a good thing since it's black).

    Company principal Henrik Nejezchleb says what really sets his jacket apart, though, is its cut.

    "The combination of patterns, materials, and construction makes it a very unique piece," he said. "As far as I know (from the factory), this construction and pattern is only available for the Pro Tour teams. They are making a special run for us with that same team spec. The factory has many patterns that are not sold at all, and they've agreed to let Curve use them for some special order items."

    However, that supposed exclusivity will cost you – to the tune of US$200 – and the prepaid orders must be placed before 12am MST, October 22 with delivery scheduled right around the end of the calendar year.

    "Probably a fairly small market will be interested, but a lot of the pro team stuff really is quite different than what's sold to the general public," Nejezchleb continued. "So we are trying to offer some true pro level items. I don't know if we'll sell that many but it's super cool gear so that's mainly why we're doing it."

  • Webcor Builders cuts professional team funding for 2011

    A moment of concentration for the Webcor Builders cycling team.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 4:10 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    America’s longest-established women’s team to close

    The North American women’s professional peloton has suffered a big loss with the announcement that Webcor Builders Professional Women’s Cycling Team will no longer exist in 2011. The California-based general contracting company withdrew its title sponsorship funding after being hit hard by the United States of America’s economic downturn, according to directeur sportif Karen Brems.

    “The construction industry was hit very hard by the recession and the company told us in July that they would no longer be able to support the pro team,” Brems told Cyclingnews. “It was a really hard decision for them but construction is down 42 percent in California. It’s been tough and they had to make some tough cuts and unfortunately the pro team was one of them.

    “We have a lot of good product sponsors and infrastructure in place and we tried to find a title sponsor but it’s just really hard with the economy, so we are not going to have a pro team for the 2011 season,” she added. “It’s been seven years and a good run and all good things have to come to an end at some point.”

    Members of this year’s team include former USA Champion and World Cup winner Katheryn Curi Mattis, former world time trial champion Amber Neben, Gina Grain, Andrea Graus, Ally Statcher and Lindsay Myers. Canadian Olympian Erinne Willock and Joelle Numainville have relocated to the TIBCO-To the Top squad for next season.

    “For a while we were looking and trying to keep it a little bit quiet while we were searching for a new sponsor,” said Brems, who notified her riders following the Cascade Cycling Classic in July that there would no longer be a team the following season.

    “We wanted to make sure to tell all of our product sponsors and athletes ourselves once it became clear that we wouldn’t have a team for 2011,” she added. “We found out about it...

  • New format for L'Etape du Tour

    The profile for stage 18 to Galibier Serre-Chevalier
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 9:25 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Two stages open to cyclosportive, plus Paris-Roubaix

    The Etape du Tour Mondovélo has changed its format for next year. Tour de France race organiser, ASO, announced on Wednesday that not only one, but two stages of the 2011 event will be open to the famous cyclosportive, and that a new ride on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix was also in the works.

    "It became very difficult to refuse riders because of our 10,000 entry limit. In organising two races, we would like to offer all riders the possibility to ride the champions' routes on the historic Tour de France stages," ASO published on the official L'Etape du Tour website.

    The first amateur challenge will be taking place on July 11 on the route of stage 19 from Modane to Alpe-d'Huez (109km including the Télégraphe, Galibier and Alpe d'Huez climbs), the shortest-ever L'Etape ride but certainly not the easiest. Starting from Modane Valfréjus, there will only be a few clicks to warm up the legs before the first ascents of the Télégraphe and Galibier (at 1,646m) featuring seven per cent average gradient on 33km. After the long descent of the Galibier and Lautaret, riders will arrive in Bourg d'Oisans and start the mythic Alpe d'Huez climb and its 21 historic hairpins.

    The second event, a little less challenging but twice as long, will be organised on July 17 on the route of stage nine from Issoire to Saint-Flour (208km). From Issoire, riders will follow the Gorges de l'Alagnon rive valley before climbing the Monts du Cantal: the Puy Mary and Plomb du Cantal. At the end of this difficult route, including views of the Chateau d'Alleuze and Viaduc de Garabit, the final climb in Saint-Flour will be the last hurdle.

    Each event may be entered separately, but there is also a cumulate ranking for those riders who choose to take on the double challenge. Registration for the 2011 Etape du Tour will open online on November 16, with the number of entries limited to 6000 for each race.


  • Hushovd looking forward to first 2011 Tour week

    Thor Hushovd
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 10:24 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Team and green jersey points changes call for new strategies

    World champion Thor Hushovd was in Paris for Tour de France route presentation on Tuesday and outlined sprint stages and a possible yellow jersey during the first week as his main aims for the race.

    Hushovd attended the presentation with his team boss for next year, Jonathan Vaughters. The pair will work together after Cervélo TestTeam ended their sponsorship of a ProTour team this year. Several Cervélo riders, including Hushovd, will ride for Vaughters as part of Garmin-Cervélo in 2011.

    "I think it's a hard route, a hard Tour but I like the first week," Hushovd told Cyclingnews.

    "There are two, maybe three chances for me where there are a couple of climbs near the finishes. After we hit the Massif Central there are not that many chances left for me or the other sprinters. The Pyrenees and the Alps are going to be very hard."

    Hushovd has twice the won the points jersey in the Tour de France (2005 and 2009) but with another strong sprinter in Tyler Farrar on his team for next year, the pair will have to work together.

    Along with team and personnel changes, the point classification has been altered for next year. In 2011, stage wins will gather 45 instead of 40 points. However, the biggest change involves intermediate sprints. In previous years, six, four and two points were awarded at three intermediate sprints per stage. Next year, there will be just one intermediate sprint per stage with 20 points going to the winner and 15 riders also picking up points on a sliding scale.

    "There are a lot of changes to the green jersey classification and that will change a lot but right now I don't know what will happen," Hushovd said.

    "There are a couple of stages where I will focus 100 per cent. I think for Tyler, if he starts well he can go for the green jersey. Stage one and then the three or four are for me and then stage five or six could be for me. I'll do everything I can to be ready...

  • Where next for Fabian Cancellara?

    Fabian Cancellara with another gold for his collection.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 10:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Future of world time trial champion still unofficial

    The Luxembourg Cycling project under the management of Brian Nygaard has still not revealed its complete rider line-up nor its sponsors, with several riders linked to the new set-up also being secretive about their near future.

    One of them is world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss Classics and stage race contender has been heavily linked to Swiss-managed BMC Racing in recent weeks, but nothing is official as yet as Cancellara also seems to be drawn to the Luxembourg project, where many of his yet-teammates and close friends will move.

    "The most important thing is to be with the people I feel comfortable with," he told French Vélo Magazine. "I need my mechanic [linked to Luxembourg - ed.], and my soigneur. I need to be in a perfect environment. In joining an environment that I don't know yet, I could lose one year. I thought a lot about it at the Worlds and this played into my performance [he defended his time trial crown but did not weigh into the road race - ed.]."

    BMC manager Andy Rihs also said that he failed to obtain Cancellara's signature despite a substantial offer. "He did not reply to our proposal," Rihs told L'Equipe at the presentation of the 2011 Tour de France. "As I don't have any news from him, I expect him to go with the Schlecks. And as we made him a very good offer, I suppose that there is more money elsewhere."

    But according to Andy Schleck, 'Spartacus' will not remain his teammate at the Luxembourg outfit next year. "I think that Fabian will sign with BMC... that's life," the 2010 Tour runner-up said, with Nygaard fuelling further speculation but also hinting at a possible signature: "Cancellara is a rider that would need a team like ours."

  • Rujano could return to European peloton

    Jose Rujano (ISD-Neri) wins the 2010 Tour de Langkawi
    Article published:
    October 21, 2010, 13:20 BST
    Peter Cossins

    Androni and Movistar interested in Venezuelan climber

    José Rujano looks set to return to one of Europe’s leading teams next season, with Androni Giacottoli and Movistar reported to be in the running for the Venezuelan climber’s signature.

    Reports in the Venezuelan press indicate that the 28-year-old is close to agreeing a deal with Androni that would enable him to fulfill certain commitments with his Gobernación de Zulia team. This would reunite Rujano with Gianni Savio, his boss at what was the Selle Italia team.

    Rujano was mentored by Savio at Selle Italia from 2003. In 2005 Rujano, then only 23, finished third and won the mountains title at the Giro d’Italia. He subsequently fell out with his Italian team boss in 2006, when his European agent angled to get him out of his Selle Italia contract and eventually secured him a deal with Quick Step.

    According to Rujano’s agent in Venezuela, Hernán Alemán, the deal with Savio’s team will enable Rujano to race for Androni between February and May next season. In June he will return to Latin America to race in Vuelta al Táchira, Vuelta a Colombia and Vuelta a Venezuela in Gobernación de Zulia colours.

    “The agreement is for two years with the condition that Rujano can stay with the Gobernación de Zulia team for various national and international events,” said Hernán during the presentation of Venezuela’s national tour. “He will be part of the Androni team from February to the end of May with the specific goal of taking part in the Giro d’Italia.”

    However, as has often been the case with a rider who has had short and not very successful spells with Quick Step, Unibet, Caisse d’Epargne and ISD Neri, things may not be as straightforward as Hernán has indicated. According to Spanish website Biciciclismo, Rujano’s agent in Europe, Giuseppe Acquadro, is negotiating a different option.