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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Date published:
August 18, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Farrar flies up UCI World rankings after Vattenfall win

    Oh yeah! Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) wins the 2009 Vattenfall Cyclassics
    Article published:
    August 17, 2009, 15:49 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Contador still leads individual, but Farrar's win brings US up to eighth

    Tyler Farrar's win in the Vattenfall Cyclassics on Sunday saw him jump more than thirty places up the International Cycling Union's (UCI) Individual World rankings, released on Monday.

    The Garmin-Slipstream rider had been sitting 57th on the UCI list prior to Sunday's race, but today moved up to 25th as a result of his victory in the ProTour event. The win also saw him move ahead of Lance Armstrong as the United States' most prolific UCI point scorer this season. Farrar has now amassed 153 individual points to Armstrong's 150.

    Farrar's movement up the World rankings was also mimicked by the place-getters in the Vattenfall Cyclassics. Runner-up Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) moved from 64th to 37th, while Gerald Ciolek moved from 109th to 59th.

    Australian Allan Davis continued his consistent season on Sunday to finish fourth. The result moved him from 12th to sixth.

    Alberto Contador (Astana) continues to lead the individual rankings ahead of Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas). The UCI has removed Danilo Di Luca's name from 17th position. The Italian tested positive for EPO-CERA on two seperate occasions during this year's Giro d'Italia. Last week Di Luca was dismissed by his team, LPR-Brakes, after confirmation of the Italian's positive B-sample for the illegal blood booster.

    There was little change to the team rankings with Astana still top of the list. Ciolek's podium in Hamburg did see Milram trade places with Cofidis to fill 19th and 20th, respectively.

    Spain retained its position at the top of the nation rankings. Though, by virtue of Farrar's Vattenfall win, the United States moved from tenth to eighth. Great Britain and Norway slipped one place each, but remained inside the World's top-ten.

    Below is the complete list of the latest UCI World individual, team and nation rankings.

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  • Carlström could assume Finnish national title

    Kjell Carlström (Liquigas)
    Article published:
    August 17, 2009, 17:46 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Liias tests positive for testosterone

    Liquigas rider Kjell Carlström could assume the Finnish national road title after Toni Liias tested positive for testosterone at Finland's national championships in June. According to Finnish news agency Liias has blamed the positive result on a nutritional supplement.

    "I have not used doping products," Liias told, on Friday. "It is a food supplement. You would need to be a chemist to understand what the substance actually contains. I had no idea that the substance may cause a false positive."

    Liias is currently awaiting the results of a test on his B-sample. If the positive is confirmed, the Finnish Cycling Federation will begin disciplinary action. If found guilty of doping, Liias, who races as an amateur, is likely to be stripped of the national road title he won in Kuusamo, Finland on June 28.

    "Doping cases are, in particular, very disappointing," said Markku Nieminen, executive director of the Finnish Cycling Union. "They are always a shock when athletes are assumed to be clean."

    Finnish anti-doping agency (ADT) cautions athletes about the use of nutritional supplements. The ADT explains that the supplements are interpreted as a doping product in the event of a positive test

    The results of Liias' B-sample are expected this week.

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  • Soler signs on with Caisse d'Epargne for 2010

    Mauricio Soler (Barloworld)
    Article published:
    August 17, 2009, 19:43 BST
    Richard Tyler

    Colombian to leave Barloworld after three seasons

    Juan Mauricio Soler will ride for Caisse d'Epargne in 2010. Colombian Spanish language newspaper El Tiempo reported on Monday that the climber has signed a contract with the Spanish ProTour squad.

    El Tiempo reported that Saxo Bank and Cervélo TestTeam had also been interested in signing the 26-year-old, but Soler had reached an agreement with Caisse d'Epargne team director, Eusebio Unzué.

    Riding for his current team, Barloworld, Soler most recently finished fifth overall at Vuelta a Burgos, behind winner and future teammate, Alejandro Valverde. The race marked an impressive return to competition for Soler who missed two months of the season due to tendonitis that had forced him out of the Giro d'Italia in May.

    Soler had hoped for a strong performance at the Italian Grand Tour after a second place finish at the Settimana Lombarda, a month before the Giro. He finished fourth on the Giro's first mountain stage to San Martino di Castrozza [he may be promoted to third on the stage after Danilo Di Luca tested positive for EPO-CERA during the Giro – ed.], before withdrawing on stage 16.

    Soler will leave Barloworld after three seasons. He began racing with the British registered Pro Continental squad in 2007, after starting his professional career at Italian squad Acqua & Sapone - Caffè Mokambo in 2006.

    He won a stage and the mountains classification at the 2007 Tour de France.

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  • McEwen to miss Eneco with knee pain

    Robbie McEwen (Katusha)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2009, 1:09 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Aussie to undergo surgery next week

    Australia’s Robbie McEwen won’t contest this week’s Eneco Tour after experiencing further knee pain. McEwen had hoped to contest the Belgian/Dutch race to salvage some of the 2009 season, during which he has been plagued by injury.

    "Doctors can't guarantee him that his knee will support the intense, repetitive efforts of racing," Katusha’s Bart Leysen told AFP.

    McEwen is due to undergo surgery to have one of the two screws in his tibia removed on August 25. He will have the second removed after his final race for the season in mid-October.

    McEwen suffered a broken leg in an accident during stage two of the Tour of Belgium, his return to racing after being forced to miss the Giro d'Italia through injuries sustained in a crash during the Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. McEwen has competed once since the Belgian accident, finishing second to Mark Cavendish at a post-Tour criterium in Aalst.

    Despite being in the later years of a decorated career, McEwen has no intention of easy up just yet. He is intent on beating star sprinter Cavendish before hanging up the bicycle, and recently announced the extension of his contract with Katusha.

    “Signed with Katusha for 2010. Hope to push out one more season after that in 2011,” McEwen wrote on his Twitter.

    The Eneco Tour starts today with a 4.4 kilometre prologue in Rotterdam. The event covers 1128.1 kilometres before ending in Amersfoort next Tuesday.

    Katusha’s Eneco roster includes: Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Nikita Eskov (Rus), Alexander Markov (Rus), Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), Alexander Serov (Rus), Nikolai Troussov (Rus), Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) and Maxime Vantomme (Bel).

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  • Mosquera makes final preparations for Vuelta

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) ensured that he'd finish in the top five overall with sixth in the TT
    Article published:
    August 18, 2009, 1:48 BST
    Les Clarke

    Another strong showing on the cards for Spaniard

    The surprise packet of last year's Vuelta a España, Ezequiel Mosquera, has begun final preparations for this year's edition of the race, which begins August 29 in Assen, The Netherlands. Xacobeo Galicia's captain has been riding in the Peña Trevinca, the highest mountain in the Galician region, according to Europa Press.

    Fourth overall in the 2008 Vuelta, Mosquera has enjoyed mixed fortunes during the 2009 season, being forced to miss the Giro d'Italia in his team's debut at the Italian race, although luck is on his side leading up to his biggest race of the year on home soil.

    A victory in the queen stage of the Vuelta a Burgos en route to a fourth place finish on general classification was an indication that he possesses fine form heading into this year's edition of Spain's grand tour. Alejandro Valverde took out the title in Lagunas de Neila, and the Caisse d'Epargne rider will also be lining up for another crack at his national tour.

    "This [training] is to maintain the form I had in the Tour of Burgos, where I felt very good and I could push myself to the limit," Mosquera told reporters. "Gradually I will increase the intensity but I will adapt my body to that higher level."

    Mosquera finished second on stage seven to Andorra during last year's Vuelta and backed it up with a strong showing on the following day to Pla de Beret, mixing it with the likes of Alberto Contador, Carlos Sastre, Valverde and Levi Leipheimer in what was a breakthrough performance for the 33-year-old Spaniard. While he could use the element of surprise in last year's event it's likely that he'll be a marked man during this year's race.

    Xacobeo Galicia's Vuelta a España squad: Ezequiel Mosquera, David Garcia Da Pena,...

  • UCI confirms USA, Great Britain's top allocations for worlds

    World champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC)
    Article published:
    August 18, 2009, 2:10 BST
    Greg Johnson

    France, Netherlands miss out on nine man teams

    France and the Netherlands will field reduced squads at this year’s UCI World Road Championships, with the countries failing to secure the results necessary to earn a nine-man team for next month’s race. The two countries will be forced to field only six riders after the final elite men allocations for this year’s race were released by the International Cycling Union on Monday.

    Strong results by Mark Cavendish and Thor Hushovd this season has seen Britain and Norway move in to the top 10, while the United States of America has benefited from Lance Armstrong’s Grand Tour outings to also secure a top 10 place.

    Despite only qualifying for three positions via the UCI Europe Tour, host nation Switzerland will field six riders thanks to article 9.2.010, which allows the host to enter six riders. The Mendrisio, Switzerland race will be staged on September 27 with nations required to submit their rider selections by September 16.

    Qualified nations by the World Classification

    1 Spain (9)
    2 Italy (9)
    3 Australia (9)
    4 Germany (9)
    5 Russia (9)
    6 Luxembourg (9)
    7 Belgium (9)
    8 Great Britain (9)
    9 Norway (9)
    10 United States of America (9)

    Qualified nations by the UCI Africa Tour

    1 South Africa (6)
    2 Tunisia (3)

    Qualified nations by the UCI America Tour

    1 Colombia (6)
    2 Venezuela (6)
    3 Argentina (3)
    4 Brasil (3)
    5 Canada (3)

    Qualified nations by the UCI Asia Tour

    1 Kazakhstan (6)
    2 Iran (3)
    3 Japan (3)

    Qualified nations by the UCI Europe Tour

    1 France (6)
    2 The Netherlands (6)
    3 Slovenia (6)
    4 Poland (6)
    5 Ukraina (6)
    6 Denmark (6)
    7 Portugal (3)
    8 Estonia (3)
    9 Austria (3)
    10 Switzerland (6)
    11 Slovakia (3)
    12 Croatia (3)
    13 Hungria...

  • Sella returns to competition today

    Italian Emanuele Sella in CarmioOro team gear
    Article published:
    August 18, 2009, 6:57 BST
    Les Clarke

    Suspension over, it's back to business for Italian rider

    After serving a one-year suspension for doping, Italian rider Emanuele Sella will return to competition today in the Tre Valli Varesine.

    Sella tested positive to the latest-generation variant of EPO, CERA, in an out-of-competition test last year. At the 2008 Giro d'Italia he won two Alpine stages and the mountains classification.

    He received a 12-month ban rather than the mandatory two-year sanction due to an admission that he used performance-enhancing products and his co-operation with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in relation to its anti-doping investigations.

    Having been signed for Continental squad Carmiooro Style-A, the rider from Vicenza will ride the Tre Valli Varesine as his comeback race before competing in the Coppa Agostoni, Coppa Bernocchi and Trofeo Melinda over the next five days.

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  • Lövkvist tuning for Worlds at Eneco

    Thomas Lövkvist (Columbia-Highroad) in the <i>maglia bianca</i> of best young rider.
    Article published:
    August 18, 2009, 9:21 BST
    Daniel Benson

    Columbia-HTC's Swedish rider aims for strong season finish

    Thomas Lövkvist will start today’s Eneco Tour hoping to build his form for the World Championships and help his team secure the overall classification. The 24-year-old will line up with a strong Columbia-HTC team, including Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Rogers. The squad will be looking to improve on last year’s performance, where they managed to place three riders in the top seven and win two stages.

    "My number aim one is to try and get through Eneco without crashing but we have a strong team here and I’ll be looking to support them as much as possible. But if there a stage where I can get myself in a good position then I might go for a stage win," Lövkvist told Cyclingnews on the eve of the race, which kicks off with a 4.8km prologue on Tuesday.

    Despite confirming that he will leave the team at the end of the season for pastures new, Columbia will be looking to ride for Boasson Hagen. The race features two short time trials that suit his skills. "He is really going well and showed that in Tour of Pologne and in Hamburg [at the Vattenfall Cyclassics] on Sunday. If he can keep himself out of trouble I think he has a good chance of doing well on the general classification," Lövkvist added.

    Lövkvist has already had a demanding season, having started racing in March and competing in the Giro d’Italia for the first time in his career. He won the opening team time trial in the Italian race and backed that up by holding the leader’s jersey for several days before succumbing in the high mountains. "The form is coming along nicely. I had a break after the nationals in June and trained really well and now I’m seeing the benefits of that."

    "I did the Giro and I had big hopes for doing the Tour but it didn’t happen and I had to reschedule my season. Hopefully I can have a good second half of the season as I normally I perform all year round. I feel fresher and that...