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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Date published:
December 14, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Sutton's simple approach nets rewards

    A chuffed CJ Sutton (Team Sky) on the podium
    Article published:
    December 13, 2010, 23:04 GMT
    Les Clarke

    "Getting back to basics" helped Sky rider win NSW GP Series

    Winner of the inaugural NSW Grand Prix Criterium Series, Chris Sutton, believes that a 'back-to-basics' approach helped him exit the off-season period in strong condition and take out the five-race event.

    He told Cyclingnews that an approach which included staying fit over the off-season with local bunch rides meant he could reach race fitness quicker than most at this time of the year, in the process being reminded of why he still loves the sport.

    "I was staying fit through the off season by doing bunch rides at five in the morning; seeing everyone having a laugh and a coffee at the end of them reminded me that I still just love riding my bike," he explained.

    A Sydney native, Sutton grew up in the city's southern beachside suburbs, around the area he won Sunday's Cronulla GP. It topped off a week that also included victories in the series rounds held in Parramatta and Gosford.

    And while he has ridden races such as the Giro d'Italia for one of the world's biggest teams, Sutton enjoys the company of those who arguably know him best. "I've known all these guys [on the bunch rides] since I was 14... And I'm still the same guy. You've got to remember where you've come from and get a reality check sometimes," said Sutton.

    The Team Sky rider also helped race organiser Phill Bates attract some of the world's best riders to the event - names such as Simon Gerrans, Mathew Hayman, Greg Henderson and Jeremy Hunt - all of whom are Sky teammates.

    "Phill [Bates] only had six weeks to organise the event and it all came together," explained Sutton. "I hope it will get bigger and better. Events NSW and Honda did a great job sponsoring and their help was vital to the event's success."

    With Sky's pre-season team camp behind him and wins on the board, Sutton now turns his attention to the Jayco Bay Series - where he'll start as one of the favourites for overall honours - and the Australian national championships,...

  • Bates aims for focus on respect

    Kate Bates has her race face on...
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 2:02 GMT
    Les Clarke

    Worrying signs in women's peloton during GP Series

    Australian sprinter Kate Bates has called for respect in the women's peloton after incidents marred two rounds of what was otherwise a successful Honda Insight Women's Grand Prix Series, held recently throughout New South Wales, Australia.

    Russian rider Evgenia Romanuta crashed heavily - requiring her to be taken to hospital - in the third event in the coastal city of Gosford and commissaires found Honda Dream Team leader Rochelle Gilmore to be at fault in the accident.

    Gilmore was disqualified but continued in the series and eventually took it out with a win in the final race in the beachside suburb of Cronulla on Sunday.

    That race wasn't without incident however, and Bates spent a considerable time speaking with commissaires after the finish as Gilmore appeared to cut her off in the sprint to the line. The former Team HighRoad rider has called for more respect amongst riders, paritcularly with emerging professionals watching their more experienced peers in the ranks.

    "Rochelle's an accomplished athlete and a classy bike rider and she doesn't need to do that. First and foremost it's dangerous... and then a disqualification from the race is mild punishment when someone ends up in hospital," Bates told Cyclingnews.

    "We are role models - and Rochelle holds herself up as a role model - for the young riders coming through and they might [mistakenly] think it's fair to ride that way," she added.

    Bates herself has spent the last two years coming back from injury and is wary of the risk of re-injury; therefore she's also extremely cautious of the potential for accidents and was frustrated at the tactics in use during the two races in question.

    "I rode four out of the five races - in two of those I sprinted and ended up yelling at the commissaires," Bates continued. "We need to send a strong message that consequences will match the action. There are rules that need to be observed."

  • Redant realistic but remaining hopeful

    Davitamon-Lotto team manager Hendrik Redant
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 3:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former Lotto director tries to stay positive

    Pegasus Sports team manager Hendrik Redant is remaining hopeful that the squad will pass the UCI's deadline of Wednesday to prove it has the financial means to continue into the 2011 season.

    While the majority owner and equity backer has withdrawn its support for the project, Pegasus Sports CEO Chris White says he's hopeful he'll be able to secure a sponsor by the December 15 deadline.

    Meanwhile, Redant has expressed his shock at the situation, telling Belgian sports daily Sporza: "I have just returned from an internship in Australia and there was not a cloud in the sky. This is really a bolt from the blue.

    "The manager is now busy re-arranging some things so that the budget was simply wrong. It is possible that we will have to surrender, but I think everyone will be behind it because we believe in this project," he added.

    "I have good hope, but am also realistic. He's not someone with just a few million [dollars] in his hands."

    Redant signed on in his position with Pegasus Sports during the year after a long stint at Lotto in its various incarnations. He's aware of the consequences should the necessary guarantees not be met tomorrow.

    "If the UCI is still denying us [a Pro Continental licence] on Wednesday, 50 people are in trouble. I am one of them. But right now I believe in it."

  • Fränk Schleck eager for 2011 season with number one team

    Eyes on the prize: Frank Schleck on his way to taking the overall at Suisse
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 9:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Luxembourger says team is a good mixture of good guys

    The 2011 season can't start soon enough for Fränk Schleck and his new team, the Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project. “We can't wait until things finally start and we can finally do what which we do best – that is, ride races.”

    Schleck and his younger bother Andy have just returned from the first team get-together in Crans Montana, Switzerland, where “the main thing was to get to know each other better. We were all together, the 25 riders and the whole staff, everybody who will be working together in the future,” he told the Luxembourger newspaper Tageblatt.

    In assembling that team of 25, the Schlecks were “of course” consulted. “But of course it wasn't just about putting together a Tour de France team. It is not a 'Team Schleck'. We wanted a team with all-rounders, with multi-talented riders. One that would be good in both the Ardennes Classics as well as those in Flanders. That's why we have Daniele Bennati and Fabian Cancellara.”

    It was also important to pick out riders who would fit in, “fine and sympathetic guys”, he said, specifically mentioning Germans Linus Gerdemann and Fabian Wegmann. “They are really very, very good guys.”

    Former Saxo Bank teammate Stuart O'Grady will be “capitaine de route”, while Jens Voigt “is just as important, we understand each other immensely well.” But also newcomers such as Bennati, Brice Feillu, and Maxime Monfort are eagerly awaited.

    The 30 year old says he is convinced the team has found the right mixture. “From a sporting perspective, we are already number one on paper. But what it says on paper doesn't count, we have to be a 'bande de copains' (bunch of friends - ed). And we are, we noticed that in Crans Montana.”

    Which means that it won't be long until the team brings in its first victory. “I'm not worried about that. They...

  • O'Grady set for Tour Down Under in spite of skiing accident

    No one should forget that Stuart O'Grady is a former winner
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 9:54 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    Australian broke ribs at first Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project gathering in Switzerland

    Stuart O’Grady (Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project) is expected to take part in the Tour Down Under in spite of breaking his ribs in a recent skiing accident in the Swiss Alps.

    O’Grady suffered the rib injury at his new team’s first gathering in Crans Montana, Switzerland, last week but his brother Darren told the Herald Sun that he is already on the road to recovery.

    “He told us he’s OK and that he’s back home in Monaco,” Darren O’Grady explained. “Look he’s fit, and he thinks it will take him a couple of weeks to recover. He should be firing by the time the Tour Down Under comes around.”

    The 2011 Tour Down Under takes place from January 18-23 and race director Mike Turtur is confident that one of the main attractions of his event will be present. O’Grady has won the Tour Down Under on two occasions (1999 and 2001) and the race takes place around his home city of Adelaide.

    "He knows exactly what it takes, the type of treatment he needs to undertake to be ready to go for the tour here in Adelaide," Turtur told ABC Sport. "So I suspect that being through the experience several times before really puts him in the position to make a prediction that he'll be OK."

  • Mosquera having surgery on collarbone

    Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia)
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 10:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Vacansoleil distancing itself from suspect rider

    Ezequiel Mosquera is having surgery on his collarbone in Madrid rather than attending the the Vacansoleil training camp on the Costa Brava this week.

    The Spaniard broke the bone in the same place twice in 2009, and had surgery on it in January, but continued to be troubled by the problem.

    The other 24 Vacansoleil riders are preparing for the upcoming season at the training camp, while Mosquera will train alone in his native Galicia.

    The team is also careful to put a certain amount of distance between itself and the controversial rider, who tested positive for HES, considered a masking agent for EPO, at the Vuelta a Espana, in which he finished second overall. He has denied the charges.

    The team noted that Mosquera's contract doesn't start until January 1, 2011, and that it will have no information on him until that time.

  • Vandborg looks to Copenhagen world time trial

    Brian Vandborg (Liquigas) readies himself for his 40.5km ride.
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 11:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Dane hopes to ride first Worlds road race as well

    Brian Vandborg is using the prospect of the 2011 world championships in Copenhagen to motivate himself to improve his time trialling, a field which he feels he has neglected.

    Vandborg, 29, is returning to Denmark and Team Saxo Bank-SunGard after two years with Liquigas. He started his career with the then-Team CSC from 2004 to 2006, before putting in a year each with Discovery Channel and the Continental-ranked Danish team GLS-Pakke Shop. He then joined the Italian team in 2009.

    ”I want to bring my time trial abilities back to the same level as before," he told the British Eurosport.

    "In general, I have become a better cyclist throughout my career but my skills as a time triallist are lacking progression. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to come back to this team. “

    He looked with confidence to team manger Bjarne Riis as “the one who can help me back on track when it comes to racing against the clock. If we succeed I can't honestly point out any Dane who will be able to beat me during the time trial world championships on home ground in autumn 2011.

    "The thought and dream of being the best motivates me more than ever. To be in the world championship line-up, I have to perform at my very best already in June during the Danish championships."

    Vandborg finished fourth in the Worlds time trial in 2006, and has finished first, second and third in the national race.

    He also has his eye on more than the time trial in Copenhagen, although he is aware it could be a long shot. “In my seven year long career as a professional, I have never been picked for the world championships road race and now I think my time has come."

  • Zubeldia looking to show form in Tour of the Basque Country

    Haimar Zubeldia waits for his team-mates at the start of the team's second training ride.
    Article published:
    December 14, 2010, 11:52 GMT
    Barry Ryan

    RadioShack rider building for Tour and Vuelta

    Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) has said that he is aiming to perform well in April’s Tour of the Basque Country. Zubeldia is entering his second season at RadioShack and while he will serve as a trusted lieutenant to his leaders at the Tour de France, he hopes to have the opportunity to shine earlier in the year.

    “I’m going to have more responsibility in some races,” Zubeldia told Biciciclismo. “In the second half of last season I saw that I could be in front again and that was very important for me. In California I’ll have to work for Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer but the Basque Country is my home and I always like to do well there.”

    Zubeldia’s early season race programme is based almost exclusively in Spain and will include the Mallorca Challenge, the Ruta del Sol and the Tour of Catalonia, ahead of April’s appointment in the Basque Country.

    “The idea is to have an acceptable level in the Basque Country and in the classics, and then California is very important to us because the sponsor is from there and we want to bring a strong team,” Zubeldia explained. “After that we will take advantage of the Dauphiné to get ready for the Tour.”

    At the Tour de France, Zubeldia is set to ride for Janez Brajkovic. He admires the Slovenian’s work ethic although is concerned that sometimes Brajkovic tries to do too much.

    “This year before the Tour, he gave a great display at the Dauphiné and so they said on the team that if he reached that level he could do important things at the Tour,” he said. “He is a very professional rider and sometimes you have to rein him in because he can train too much. But then again, if it gets him into that kind of condition…”

    Zubeldia missed out on RadioShack’s sole Grand Tour appearance in 2010, the Tour de France, but he is determined to make amends next...