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First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, September 3, 2009

Date published:
September 03, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Van Impe renews with Quick Step

    Kevin van Impe (Quickstep) covered in dust
    Article published:
    September 02, 2009, 20:17 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Belgian hoping for better 2010

    Kevin Van Impe extended his contract on Wednesday with Team Quick Step. The Belgian rider will continue riding with the team through the next two seasons until the end of 2011.

    "Reaching an agreement with the team really means a lot to me," said the 28-year-old from Aalst on the eve of racing the Kortemark kermesse.

    "2009 was a terribly unlucky year for me. The team's renewal makes me very happy," he said. "I'd like to thank the technical staff and team manager Patrick Lefevere for the faith they've placed in me. The team is like my second family."

    "Now I can focus entirely on the work I need to do. My left knee doesn't hurt any more and my morale is high." Impe dropped out of the Tour of Belgium due to pain in his left knee.

    "The team's technical staff thought it was right to give Kevin another chance," said Lefevere. "Because he's had problems with his left knee lately, he hasn't been able to totally express his own worth and the qualities he displayed in the beginning of the season with the splendid victory in the Dwars door Vlaanderen. Kevin will continue to undergo rehab."

    Van Impe won the Dwars door Vlaanderen in March. Before joining Quick Step for 2006, he rode for Chocolade Jacques-T Interim (2005) and Lotto-Domo (2002-2004).

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  • UCI grants early extension of Tour Down Under ProTour license

    The 2008 Tour Down Under enjoyed its first year as a 'ProTour' race
    Article published:
    September 02, 2009, 20:24 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Tour de Romandie license also renewed for four years

    The UCI extended ProTour event license agreements with organizers of two races on Wednesday after reviewing requests concerning the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie.

    The Tour Down Under had asked to continue with its ProTour event license through the end of 2013. The Australian race's license would have expired at the end of 2011 since it was first run as a ProTour event in 2008.

    Lance Armstrong recently announced that he would return to the Tour Down Under for the 2010 edition, this time with his new RadioShack team. Armstrong finished 29th in this year's edition which was won by Aussie Allan Davis (Quick Step).

    The Tour of Romandie's license was renewed for four years, and will now run through 2013. The current license was to expire at the end of 2009. Czech Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) won this year's edition which wrapped up in May.

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  • Contador to skip Worlds

    Alberto Contador (Astana) waits for the start.
    Article published:
    September 02, 2009, 20:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Spaniard gives up his spot after being out of competition since July

    Spaniard Alberto Contador will not compete in the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, he announced Wednesday.

    "I talked with [national coach] José Luis Santos and, after analyzing a bit all season and, especially, the fact that I have not competed since the Tour de France, we felt it was best to leave my place to another rider who really will be better," Contador said in a statement.

    Contador claimed his second Tour de France title this year ahead of Andy Schleck and Lance Armstrong. He has also taken the Spanish time trial title and wins in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Volta ao Algarve.

     "I've been winning races since the beginning of the season and to get ready for the Worlds would require a major effort, not to mention that probably those who are racing the Vuelta would come in better condition."

    "I know the Mendrisio circuit was a good opportunity for me because it's pretty hard, but I had a very demanding year and I preferred to give up my place to another rider," he said.

    Contador will appear this week at the Eurobike trade show in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

  • Olympic champion Perez arrested while training

    Walter Perez celebrates after winning Olympic Gold in Beijing
    Article published:
    September 02, 2009, 20:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Madison gold medalist alleges abuse by gendarmes

    A little more than a year ago, Argentinean Walter Perez received a hero's welcome when he returned to his home country after winning the Olympic gold medal in Beijing with Madison partner Juan Curuchet. On Tuesday, he found himself in a very different situation - one that landed him on the business end of a gendarme's baton.

    Perez was one of approximately 60 cyclists training as a group on the Autopiste del Oeste, one of the few roads in Buenos Aires that riders consider safe enough to train on.

    However, the road is a six-lane highway which, by law, is not open to pedestrians or cyclists. Because Buenos Aires roads are heavily congested and dangerous to ride on, the area's cyclists frequently risk being run off by the gendarmes in order to train on the highway

    On Tuesday, the group with which Perez was riding was stopped by gendarmes, who, according to a witness, forced riders off the road with their batons.

    Perez seemed to be singled out by the gendarmes. He was forcibly taken into custody, he told La Nacion. "The police took me away with aggression. They put handcuffs on me in order to stop me, which were orders from their higher authorities.

    "I lost a day of training. I'm not used to being stopped by the police, this was the first time in 20 years of training on this road. I was scared and nervous. There were 60 other cyclists there and I'm the only one they took."

    According to witnesses, one of the gendarmes took out a gun and threatened to use it to restore calm. "I have a video shot with my cellphone, and everyone has to see how these people treat athletes," reported one of the riders as saying.

    The video can be viewed here.

    (Additional editorial assistance from Kirsten Robbins)

  • Garmin-Slipstream winning duo bound for Missouri

    USA's Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream) finishes Tour de France stage six in Barcelona.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 6:21 BST
    Kirsten Frattini

    American squad reveals eight man roster

    Garmin-Slipstream will field a tough-to-beat team at the Tour of Missouri, set to begin in St Louis on September 7. Defending champion Christian Vande Velde will arrive on top form and he can rely on his teammate David Zabriskie as the second card to play in the overall classification.

    An outstanding 2008 season saw Vande Velde place fourth in the Tour de France as the highest placed American. He capped off the season by capturing the overall title at the Tour of Missouri, placing 18-seconds ahead of Michael Rogers (Columbia-HTC) and now team-mate Svein Tuft, who was racing for the Canadian-based Symmetrics team.

    This year Vande Velde is in good shape despite recently crashing at Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany where team-mate Tyler Farrar went on to victory. According to team owner Jonathan Vaughters, Vande Velde should be fully recovered by Missouri’s start.

    “Vande Velde is finally healthy,” said Vaughters. “He crashed again in Hamburg and he’s had some tough luck this year. But, I think he’s healthy and ready and I think he’ll be good.”

    Zabriskie proved he is on good form winning his fourth consecutive USPro Championship title in the time trial last weekend in Greenville, South Carolina. The pair of overall contenders will compliment each other over the Tour of Missouri’s tough seven stages.

    “It’s between Christian and Dave as to who is the GC rider at Missouri,” Vaughters said with confidence in both rider’s capability of winning. “They will have to see who has the better legs or how that progresses over the race.”

    The Garmin-Slipstream line up is well suited to the race's newest addition - a flat time trial held on stage five in Sedalia which replaced the hillier circuit in Branson. The roster includes Vande Velde and Zabriskie along with Jason Donald, Tim Duggan, Danny Pate, Mike Friedman, Will Frischkorn and...

  • Julich looking forward to Univest Cyclosportif

    Bobby Julich
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 9:41 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Former pro to lead amateur ride at Univest GP

    Bobby Julich, whose career included a third-place in the 1998 Tour de France and a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics, will be the celebrity leader for the 2009 Univest Cyclosportif 100K on Saturday, September 12. On the morning of the Univest GP pro race, amateur cyclists will enjoy the company of the former professional, who is happy to participate in the event taking place in Souderton, Pennsylvania.

    "I am really looking forward to visiting Souderton and riding the Cyclosportif," Julich said. "As a racer I know how tough the Univest Grand Prix is and I also know what a great showcase it is for the young talent in our sport. The chance for non-racers to ride such a great course with all of the support provided by the Univest team is just a terrific opportunity to share in the fun."

    Participants will ride on the professional’s race course and enjoy many of the benefits of the peloton, including feed zones, mechanical and medical support vehicles and a sag wagon. Each rider receives official finishing times, through electronic chip timing, and can choose from a 100 kilometre (60 miles) and 60 kilometre (40 miles) course.

    "We are thrilled to have a rider of Bobby Julich’s stature to lead our Cyclosportif this year," said race organizer John Eustice, president of Sparta Cycling. "His extraordinary career speaks for itself and he was always a fan favourite because he is always approachable and considerate. Bobby’s continued work in the pro peloton as the team development manager of the esteemed Saxo Bank Pro Tour squad just adds to his considerable prestige."

    Julich joins a host of past cycling stars who have served as celebrity leaders for the Cyclosportif 100K, including Frankie Andreu, a nine-time Tour de France rider and current Tour commentator; Jonathan Vaughters, former racer and current director of Team Garmin Slipstream; Marty Nothstein, Olympic gold medallist and director of the Valley Preferred Cycling...

  • Saxo Bank extends with Steensen

    Andre Steensen was best young rider.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 10:45 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Dane to remain on home terrain

    Saxo Bank youngster André Steensen has been re-signed by the Danish squad for another season. The 21-year-old was delighted with the announcement, which comes after some good results in 2009.

    "I am riding for the team I ideally want to ride for so I'm really happy to sign the contract for another year with Team Saxo Bank,” he said. “There’s a great team spirit and I am always enormously eager to meet with the other riders on the team to compete.

    “The strong relations between us are motivating for me and I am sure that it lifts everyone's performance to a higher level,” he added. “Next year I will seek to create even bigger results and avoid injuries.”

    Steensen’s next race will be Paris-Brussels on September 12th. He enjoyed a top 10 finish on Tour de Wallonie’s Stage 1 in 2009. The strong results this season followed a long period of injury last year.

    Team owner Bjarne Riis said he’s happy to have the young Dane on his team for another year: "For me it was obvious that we would extend the contract with André,” said Riis. “He is the youngest rider on the team and we have not yet seen all his potential. He is undoubtedly extremely talented, but he has unfortunately over a long period of time been affected by injuries.

    “But this year he has shown great development and we are looking forward to seeing how far we can go with his great talent,” said Riis.

    Steensen joined Saxo Bank in 2008 from the Glud & Marstrand Horsens squad. He is the older brother of 19-year-old Nicolai, who also competed with some success in the sport.

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  • Steegmans looking forward to new start at RadioShack

    A still soggy Gert Steegmans waves happily from the podium.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 10:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian attracted by Bruyneel's philosophy

    Gert Steegmans said that he is looking forward to a “new start” next season with Team RadioShack. The Belgian, who left Team Katusha during this season, said that he was “very honoured” when the newly-formed US team expressed an interest in him.

    Many teams contacted him when his contract with Katusha was dissolved, he told Sporza. “RadioShack came later. I was very honoured that they were interested in me. After a few conversations with Dirk Demol, everything was settled.”

    Steegmans joined Katusha this season after six years with Lotto and Quick Step. The Belgian left the team in August after refusing to sign the squad's anti-doping charter. He disagreed with the Russian team's demands that riders pay five times their salary if caught doping.

    The 28-year-old said he liked the team philosophy of Johan Bruyneel, who is likely to become Team RadioShack's new team manager. “He makes the riders better. I want to ride in a team where I can perform at an optimal level," said Steegmans, and that he could see this happening at Team Astana this year, “even though the atmosphere there was not ideal. That says a lot about team management.”

    Team Katusha, in the meantime, will be nothing more than a bad memory for Steegmans. “I want to forget the lost season with Katusha as quickly as possible,” he said.

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