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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, October 22, 2009

Date published:
October 22, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Lelangue looking forward to BMC expansion

    John Lelangue
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 4:29 BST
    Shane Stokes

    Big signings mark step forward for American team

    A camp held this month in Zurich has given some of the BMC Racing team a chance to prepare for the 2010 season, a year which should mark a significant step forward for the Professional Continental squad. The American-registered, Swiss-backed set-up has made some high profile signings, and directeur sportif John Lelangue is feeling upbeat about the evolution.

    “It is a big step forward to have guys like George Hincapie, Marcus Burghardt, Alessandro Ballan and Karsten Kroon for the Classics, and also young riders like Mauro Santambrogio,” the Belgian told Cyclingnews. “We’ll have young American and Swiss riders on the team, and we are also glad to welcome the young sprinter coming from Norway, Alexander Kristoff.”

    The team was set up in 2007, with Lelangue joining prior to the start of the 2008 season. It received wildcard invitations to several important events this year. While Matthias Frank’s overall victory in the GP Tell was the team's biggest win, the former Phonak boss believes decent progress is being made.

    “I think there were a lot of good performances,” said Lelangue. “We had some good races in the US, and in Europe I think we made a good impression throughout the year in the races that we went to. We had several good top 10 results, including Matthias Frank's’ ride [to sixth place] in the Tour of Ireland.

    “We also had a good presence in the ProTour events also, such as the Dauphine Libéré and the Tour of Romandie," he added. "They were the two most difficult races that we did. Marcus Zberg finished second on a stage of the former, crossing the line just behind Angelo Furlan (Lampre NGC) on day two. This and other results encourage him.

    “We are making good speed in growing each year with the programme that we have,” he said.

    Signing high profile riders like 2008 world champ Ballan, Tour de France stage...

  • LA-MSS team doctor gets 10-year suspension

    Some forms of blood doping can only be detected through the passports.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 11:15 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    2008 doping investigation concluded, four riders also banned

    The Spanish doctor of former Portuguese Continental team LA-MSS, Marcos Maynar, has been suspended for ten years for doping practices, the Portuguese cycling federation announced on Wednesday. Maynar had already been excluded from competition in 2008, and is now banned for having "prescribed or given forbidden and masking substances to certain cyclists of the LA-MSS squad during the 2008 season."

    In May 2008, police found doping products as well as equipment to conduct blood transfusions in the squad's headquarters. In June 2008, the Portuguese federation suspended five riders and four team staff temporarily pending the outcome of the investigation.

    This week, the federation also announced it gave four riders – Pedro Cardoso, Alfonso Azevedo, Rogério Batista and Claudio Faria – suspensions spanning from one year and two months up to two years. Former sports director Manuel Zeferino received a fine of €2,800.

    Luis Fernando d'Almeida, the team's president, as well as another rider, Tiago Silva, were meanwhile cleared of any suspicion.

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  • Prudhomme inspects Corsica for 2013 Tour start

    Race director Christian Prudhomme announces the race's departure.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 11:35 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Tour de France director on French island to visit possible stages

    Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme is in Corsica to evaluate its bid to host the start of the 2013 race. France's largest island in the Mediterranean sea has never been host of the race which will celebrate its 100th edition in four years.

    "This is the first step of a process to see if the Tour de France can be run here," Prudhomme told L'Equipe. "Several trips are necessary and it will take time to decide."

    Prudhomme and other Tour officials arrived in Ajaccio yesterday and will stay on the island for three days. They will visit Porto Vecchio (Corse-du-Sud) today and Bastia as well as Calvi (Haute-Corse) Friday.

    The last time the Tour de France held its start off the European mainland was in 2007, in London. The Tour caravan travelled back to France through the Channel tunnel, but returning from Corsica would require ferries and airplanes.

    Tour organiser ASO has received applications from other countries to host the 2013 start. Salzburg (Austria), Scotland, Utrecht (Netherlands), Lugano (Switzerland) and Liège (Belgium) have applied in Europe, with such faraway locations as Qatar and Tokyo (Japan) also making a bid.

    Prudhomme announced the 2010 Tour route last week in Paris, France. It starts with one stage in the Netherlands and then travels to France via Belgium.

  • Bouygues signs three cyclists for 2010

    French national champion Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel)
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 12:19 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Bichot, Charteau and Vogondy join Bernaudeau's French team

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has three new riders for next season. He announced yesterday the arrival of Frenchmen Freddy Bichot, Nicolas Vogondy (both from Agritubel) and Anthony Charteau (Caisse d'Epargne).

    "After the signing of Nicolas Vogondy is formalised, the group will be complete," Bernaudeau told L'Equipe. Vogondy, two-time French champion, has yet to ink his contract, while Bichot's and Charteau's signing are complete.

    Bernaudeau also announced five riders to leave the team: Frenchmen Julien Belgy, Olivier Bonnaire, Arnaud Labbe and Rony Martias, and Russian Evgeny Sokolov.

    Bbox Bouygues Telecom received official notice November 29 from the International Cycling Union (UCI) that it failed to meet renewal requirements for a 2010 ProTour licence. It has had a ProTour, or first division, licence since the inception of the ranking system in 2005. It will have to race 2010 at the Professional Continental level, or second division.

  • Tweet, tweet: How to follow California’s route announcement

    USA's Levi Leipheimer of Team Astana is a hot favourite
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 14:33 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Information to be ‘leaked’ throughout US morning

    Tour of California’s route will be unveiled later today, but the race’s organizer has hinted it will not be your run of the mill announcement. While the Grand Tours gather in grand ballrooms for their announcements, California is expected to start leaking its route details with a little help from some big names and social networking site Twitter.

    While will be covering all the details of the route announcement, and exclusive responses from those that will take part in the race, we wanted to point out some places you can look to be first in the know. In particular, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to be the first to leak details of this year’s route via his Twitter (@Schwarzenegger).

    Levi Leipheimer dropped a not-so-subtle hint the Terminator and Kindergarten Cop star would be worth watching last night. Officially the announcement isn’t until 10 AM PST, but Schwarzenegger could start Tweeting details up to 90 minutes earlier. “Are you following Gov. @schwarzenegger? Tomorrow morning at 8:30 PST would be a good time to start,” wrote the defending champion on his Twitter.

    The organisers indicated that it might be worth watching Leipheimer’s (@LeviLeipheimer) Twitter, as well as those of Dave Zabriskie (@dzabriskie) and George Hincapie (@ghincapie). Of course, the Tour of California’s account (@AmgenTourofCali) is likely to come into the mix as well.

    You can also follow all the latest news throughout the day at Cyclingnews’ own Twitter (@Cyclingnewsfeed) or by returning to You can also exchange thoughts on where the route might take the professionals with other Cyclingnews readers in our official Tour of California route announcement thread.

  • Ribeiro accuses team doctors

    Nuno Ribeiro - one of Liberty Seguros' pair of Portuguese rising stars.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 14:40 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Liberty Seguros rider "did not know" that he was administered EPO

    Nuno Ribeiro accused his team doctors of administering him blood booster EPO-CERA without his knowledge. He won this year's Tour of Portugal, but he was later to have shown to have failed an anti-doping control August 3, prior to the event.

    "I received injections without knowing what they were," the former Liberty Seguros rider told Portuguese sports newspaper O Jogo. "When you're in a team, you have to trust the persons you work with every day. You have to assume that what they do is for our best. There was no reason to doubt it."

    Ribeiro was tested a two days before the beginning of the Tour of Portugal, August 5 to 16, where he won a stage and the overall classification.

    "I took what the doctor in charge of the team gave me. I did not know what it was. I trusted that what they gave me was for recovery," Ribeiro, 32, continued. He did not clarify whether the team doctors were involved in organised doping.

    Ribeiro also said he was sorry on behalf of his fans and assured that he wanted to come back to pro cycling as soon as possible to clear his name.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world -

  • Milram manager disappointed in 2009 season

    Gerry Van Gerwen is cautiously optimistic but needs more details.
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 15:13 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Van Gerwen investigating Gerdemann blood values

    Gerry Van Gerwen, general manager of German ProTour team Milram, has drawn negative conclusions over the squad's 2009 season. The team achieved only nine victories this year when the Dutch manager's goal in January had been 25 wins. Milram is currently placed 18th team in the UCI rankings.

    "One thing is clear: We're not going to continue this way," Van Gerwen said at a press conference in Dortmund, Germany, according to wire service SID. "Maybe we were too democratic, too human. The reins will be tightened. We are not going to race just to race anymore, but to perform."

    The team's biggest results this year were one stage victory at the Vuelta a Espana through Gerald Ciolek, the overall Bayern Rundfahrt by Linus Gerdemann and the Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop by Fabian Wegmann.

    "But not all was bad this season," Van Gerwen also said. "It was the team's best showing at the Tour de France, and we presented ourselves very well at the German races. Moreover, we achieved another big goal: a high-quality win at a Grand Tour. These are the performances we have to build upon, and that we will show at every race in 2010."

    Van Gerwen also noted that 2010 will be the last year the team sponsor Nordmilch is under contract.

    Regarding the allegations against team captain Linus Gerdemann, Van Gerwen is pursuing further investigations. "I have recommended to Gerdemann's manager to obtain the complete blood values. Then, we can ask an external expert to analyse them." If the expert's conclusions were negative, this would be "obliging" according the manager.

    The team's doctor, Mark Schmidt, has also been accused of doping. Former Gerolsteiner rider Bernhard Kohl alleged that Schmidt, who worked for Gerolsteiner at the time, organised doping within the team in 2008. Van Gerwen is now reportedly waiting for a court decision in Vienna, Austria, before taking any action.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very...

  • UCI reduces Riccò's suspension back to 20 months

    Italian Riccardo Riccò, 26
    Article published:
    October 22, 2009, 15:28 BST
    Gregor Brown

    Italian Riccardo Riccò able to return to race in March

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) reduced Riccardo Riccò's doping suspension from 24 to 20 months today, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The sport's governing body followed the decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in March.

    Italy's Riccò tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) CERA July 8 at the 2008 Tour de France. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages, Super-Besse and Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

    The CONI gave Riccò a two-year suspension in October 2008. He appealed the length to the CAS, which reduced the suspension to 20 months. His suspension ends March 18, 2010.

    The UCI said on July 30 this year that it would side with the AFLD and not allow Riccò to race for 24 months, meaning he could not return until July 18, 2010. The UCI had decided that the CONI lacked jurisdiction when it issued its 20-month suspension.

    Riccò signed a contract through 2011 with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia in June. He will now be able to return to racing at the Italian one-day classic, Milano-Sanremo, on March 20.

    He will also be eligible to race the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He won two stages and finished second overall in the 2008 edition.