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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Date published:
February 14, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Omega Pharma-Quick Step: Chavanel for Oman, Martin for Algarve

    The Omega Pharma - QuickStep team after their win
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 14:37 GMT
    Cycling News

    Belgian team wants more victories in Middle East and Portugal

    Omega Pharma-Quick Step has announced its line-ups for the next stage races, the Tour of Oman (starting Tuesday, February 14) and the Volta ao Algarve (starting Wednesday, February 15). The Belgian team has just finished the Tour of Qatar, where Tom Boonen won the general classification as well as two stages, and is now targeting the Tour of Oman with a slightly different line-up due to the hillier terrain.

    "After our lucky spell in Qatar we're going to try to do well in Oman, too," said Sports Director Wilfried Peeters, who announced that top lead-out man Gert Steegmans would now be supported by Boonen for the sprints.

    "For the finishes adapted to sprinters, we're going to call on Steegmans. Gert was a fundamental pillar for Boonen's victory in Qatar; now it will be his turn to try and win a stage.

    "For the general classification we can count on Sylvain Chavanel, who was already a major player in Argentina and on Peter Velits, although he hasn't raced as much as Sylvain. After the success in Qatar it would be exceptional to grab at least one stage success in nearby Oman," Peeters said.

    The team will also be at the start line of the 38th edition of the Volta ao Algarve, where Tony Martin will try to defend his 2011 title.

    "The Algarve will be Tony Martin's first stage race in 2012," said Sports Director Rik Van Slycke. "It will be important to understand to which point Tony is ready for the next races. The race features an uphill finish, but this shouldn't make a difference for the men who are jostling for the general classification. A 25,8 km time trial on the last day on a flat circuit will favour a time trial man with Martin's skills.

    The German will be joined by a versatile team including his fellow...

  • German federation bars Ullrich from cyclo-sportives

    Jan Ullrich on the road again
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 15:58 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Banned rider may not start in any BDR-authorized race

    Jan Ullrich will not be allowed to ride in any cyclo-sportive race sanctioned by the German cycling federation, the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer announced on Monday. Ullrich was last week given a two-year ban for doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    The question had arisen as to whether the ban would include the cyclo-sportive races, with his advisor Falk Nier saying that it was up to the discretion of race organisers. Ullrich's newest sponsor, the manufacturer of Alpecin shampoo (“Doping for the hair”), sponsors a “Cycling Day” in August in Bielefeld, Germany, and Ullrich was expected to ride.

    Nier said that his appearance would “not be the function of a cyclist, but that of an ambassador for amateur cycling. He doesn't have to be included in the results. So I really can't imagine that Jan will not be at the start in Bielefeld.”

    The BDR has ruled against him, however, saying the ban extends to such races. Under its rules, a suspension applies to all races, including cyclo-sportives, covered by the BDR.

    BDR vice-president Udo Sprenger said, “That means that Ullrich is not allowed to start in any German cyclo-sportive, which is authorized by the Bund DR.”

    Nier told Cyclingnews he had no comment, saying only, "Of course, the BDR antidoping rules are known."

    BDR president Rudolf Scharping used the BDR's announcement to voice his criticism of Ullrich's statement after the CAS decision. “It is too bad, that he now also only admits what everyone knew anyway and doesn't accept the full responsibility for what he did.”

  • Radioshack-Nissan announces Oman and Algarve line-ups

    Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Andy Schleck
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 19:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    American team sends Andy Schleck to Oman, Klöden to Portugal

    Johan Bruyneel's Radioshack-Nissan-Trek squad will divide its forces on two continents this week. In the Middle East, for the upcoming Tour of Oman, Andy Schleck will begin his 2012 racing calendar and join some of his teammates that already took part in the Tour of Qatar. Andreas Klöden, on the other hand, will test his climbing and time trial form at the Volta ao Algarve.

    The Tour of Oman, taking place from February 14-19, will also feature Fabian Cancellara, already present in Qatar. Coming out of the European winter, Schleck will be able to test his fitness on Saturday's stage including an uphill finish on Green Mountain. The full Oman line-up for Radioshack-Nissan is: Fabian Cancellara, Jakob Fuglsang, Tony Gallopin, Yaroslav Popovych, Joost Posthuma, Grégory Rast, Andy Schleck and Robert Wagner.

    The Tour of Algarve, starting one day later, will have the following riders line up: Jan Bakelants, Matthew Busche, Laurent Didier, Ben Hermans, Ben King, Andreas Klöden, Tiago Machado and Jesse Sergent. Sunday's time trial from Lagoa to Portimão will serve to assess the whole team's state of form.

  • Tiernan-Locke's signature already in demand

    Tour Méditerranéen winner Jon Tiernan-Locke (Endura Racing) is congratulated by Stephen Roche.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 21:00 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Smith takes call from rival manager after Tour Méditerranéen win

    Within hours of wrapping up a stellar win at the Tour Méditerranéen, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s (Endura Racing) team boss, Brian Smith, had a rival team manager on the phone enquiring about the possibility of signing his rider.

    Tiernan-Locke had just put in the ride of his life to drop the peloton on the final climb of the race and secure the overall. Having won the opening in a similar attacking display, Smith admitted that keeping Tiernan-Locke may be a problem in the future. The rider’s contract expires at the end of this season.

    “I’ve already had a call seeing if he’s available for this year and that’s from one of the best teams in the world,” Smith told Cyclingnews.

    “To let him go would be difficult, but I would never stand in the way of an opportunity for a rider.”

    “I have to talk to the sponsor because you’ve got to remember he’s capable of winning the Tour of Britain and that’s huge for a sponsor like Endura. These are our goals. I’m all for riders getting the best out of themselves, but there are a lot of things to talk about with contracts. I would love to keep him, but I think he’ll go to a WorldTour team in 2013.”

    Tiernan-Locke was signed from Rapha at the end of last season but his performances in the Med caught most by surprise. A strong showing in last year’s Tour of Britain where he claimed a top five position and the mountains jersey illustrated his potential, but he has flourished within his short time under Smith’s tutelage.

    “It was a surprise for some but not to me or the rest of the boys in the team. Last year I was doing the commentary for a lot of the Premiere Calendar events, and I...

  • Pegasus Racing investigated by Australian Taxation Office

    Chris White.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2012, 21:59 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Virgin Australia confirms that a financial settlement has been reached

    Cyclingnews has learned that Pegasus Racing, which in 2011 operated in the form of UCI Continental team V Australia, is the focus of an investigation by the Australian Taxation Office following (ATO) numerous complaints by former riders.

    Under Australian law, employers must contribute an additional nine per cent of an employee's wages into a compliant superannuation fund. Failure to do so results in the superannuation guarantee charge which is composed of the amount of the unpaid super contribution plus an administrative penalty and some interest. Payments then go back to the employees. At the beginning of this financial year (July 1, 2011), significant penalties were introduced by the Australian Federal Government making company directors, which in the case of Pegasus Racing is Chris White, personally liable for their company's failure to pay employee superannuation.

    The ATO does not comment on individual's tax affairs.

    Cyclingnews contacted White and he said that news of the ATO investigation was "completely untrue" adding he "did not wish to continue the conversation" before hanging up.

    Meantime, former sponsor Virgin Australia confirmed to Cyclingnews late last week that a financial settlement between the airline and White had been reached following negotiations which lasted several months.

    "Negotiations have concluded, and contents of the contract and agreement remain confidential," a spokeswoman for Virgin Australia informed Cyclingnews.

    Pegasus Racing's contract with V Australia was renewed in May 2011 year but in September the airline informed White that financial sponsorship would not continue for 2012 with payment for the final two quarters of the year were withheld. Cyclingnews reported on December 22 that the team had ridden its final race.

    Several riders...

  • Exergy Tour returns elite women's cycling to Idaho

    The inaugural Exergy Tour stages
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 0:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Inaugural five-day stage race kicks off this May

    Top-level women's racing returns to Idaho with the announcement that the The Exergy Tour international ladies pro cycling event will take place from May 24-28, 2012. The race will be one of the last to provide international ranking points crucial to qualifying for the London Olympic Games. It is sanctioned by USA Cycling and is the only ladies race in North America in 2012 with a 2.1 ranking by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

    Medalist Sports will oversee the competition and technical production of the Exergy Tour, as well as the development of the local organizing committees in each start and finish venue. Medalist also is the event management arm for the Amgen Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

    While the exact state routes are yet to be decided, the five-day stage race will start and finish in Boise. Day two will take place in and around Nampa. From there, teams will race through the high desert of Kuna, then on to the alpine stage of Crouch/Garden Valley and Idaho City, and back to Boise on the final day. Because the host cities are all within an hour's drive of each other, the course enables volunteers and spectators to easily travel to each leg of the race throughout the Memorial Day long weekend.

    Official race announcements including the Exergy Tour's list of 10-15 participating teams, charitable partner, prize money and individual stage details will be released over the next four to six weeks.

    "The Exergy Tour will showcase the power and excitement of women's professional cycling and its growing global influence, while engaging our communities in teaching young girls the benefits gained through individual and team sports," said James Carkulis, CEO of Exergy Development Group.

    "Our vision with the Exergy Tour is to...

  • UnitedHealthcare ready for 2012 European debut in Algarve

    Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare)
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 2:19 GMT
    Cycling News

    Deignan, Sutherland to lead team

    It's testament to just how far UnitedHealthcare have come in the last few years when the team can boast not one or two, but a handful of former WorldTour riders on the team roster for the upcoming Volta ao Algarve, the European season opener for the American squad.

    Irishman Philip Deignan will make his debut with the team along with Jeff Louder, Marc de Maar, Kai Reus and Jason McCartney. All five of the riders are former top tier professionals, making the UnitedHealthcare squad among the favourites to make an impression in Algarve.

    Rory Sutherland will also be starting his season in Portugal, marking his sixth year with the Mike Tamayo-managed squad.

    Tamayo said the team was really looking forward to kicking off their European season in Portugal after a successful Tour de San Luis.

    "We experienced some good success in Argentina last month at the Tour de San Luis, and as always, we're looking to build on that. It's still early in the season - but we're excited about being here for the Volta and will be looking to make an impact."

    The five-stage 2012 Volta ao Algarve begins Wednesday, February 15.

    UnitedHealthcare roster for the 2012 Volta ao Algarve:

    Philip Deignan (Irl), Marc de Maar (AMo), Chris Jones (USA), Jeff Louder (USA), Jason McCartney (USA), Kai Reus (Ned), Rory Sutherland (Aus), Brad White (USA)

  • New role for Wurf at Champion System

    Cameron Wurf (Liquigas-Cannondale) is ready to make his Tour Down Under bow.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2012, 3:34 GMT
    Jane Aubrey

    Late call-up to ProConti outfit should lead to individual resurgence

    When Liquigas-Cannondale announced their 2012 roster of 29 riders in late November, the exclusion of Cameron Wurf was met with some beffudlement, least of which for the Australian domestique.

    "I had always been planning on staying with Liquigas and following my broken rib there was a breakdown in communication between by agent and the team, which basically resulted in some confusion," Wurf told Cyclingnews. "The position which I thought was going to be there wasn't."

    It was a nightmare end to a largely forgettable season with his ambitions to ride in a second grand tour were shattered on two separate occasions - a stomach virus returned at the Critérium du Dauphiné, after it was initially contracted at the Tour of California which ruled Wurf out of the Tour de France and then a slow-to-heal fractured rib then put an end to any thought of racing the Vuelta a Espana.

    Fast forward to mid-January and it was finally confirmed that Wurf would be joining good friend and fellow-Tasmanian Will Clarke at UCI ProConti outfit, Champion System and he was rushed to Hainan for the team's inaugural training camp.

    "I didn't start looking for a team until very late in the piece, just in the hope that it would work out with Liquigas," Wurf explained. "I guess I was a little bit nervous."

    In fact Champion System, through general manager Ed Beamon via Genesys Wealth Advisers team director Andrew Christie-Johnson, was the only team that the 28-year-old former Olympic rower contacted.

    "It's really exciting,"...