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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Date published:
February 15, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Durand denies he will replace Rous at Europcar

    Castorama's Jacky Durand was a favourite during the mid-nineties.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 11:15 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Frenchman may join team as advisor for now

    Jacky Durand has denied reports that he will fill the void at Team Europcar left vacant by Didier Rous last month, but confirmed to Cyclingnews that he may work with the ProContinental squad in advisory capacity.

    "I've been in touch with Jean-Rene Bernaudeau but nothing's decided yet," Durand told Cyclingnews. "Europcar's offer is not to replace Didier Rous as some people said."

    Rous announced his intention to leave Europcar late last year, after three years as a director with the squad. His sudden departure was followed soon after by news that he had joined the management team of rival squad Cofidis.

    In recent days reports in the French media had suggested that Durand would replace Rous. Despite the vacancy at Europcar, Durand said commitment to his role as a Eurosport commentator meant a full-time position with professional team would be impossible and that any role would be strictly part-time.

    "Whatever happens I'll be an Eurosport consultant, notably at the Tour de France, as I signed my contract before talking to Europcar. So my job would be a kind of adviser and not a full time directeur sportif's role."

    The proposed advisory role would give Durand an introduction to team direction. Since his retirement in 2005 he has remained involved in the sport through his commentary position, but hasn't made the move into team management. However, Durand would appear to be a good fit with Europcar's squad of young and attacking riders, including Pierre Rolland and French Champion Thomas Voeckler.

    Durand's own storied career included victories at the Tour of Flanders (1992) and Paris-Tours (1998), as well as stage wins at the Tour de France, but is best remembered for his penchant for early, long-shot breakaway attempts.

    He indicated that if he does make a move into full-time team management, he will take a more methodical approach.

    "If I do this work it'll be a test, as the directeur...

  • Image gallery: RadioShack and Liquigas stars take maiden wins on Indian soil

    McEwen congratulates Hunter after his win
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 12:39 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    India celebrates cycling with second Tour du Mumbai

    The International Cycling Union's efforts to globalise cycling events took another step forward with the second running of the Tour du Mumbai in India last weekend.

    Spectators were treated to the spectacle of ProTeam stars, including RadioShack's Robbie McEwen and Robert Hunter, and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) competing in a pair of races in India's most populated city.

    Hunter ensured RadioShack would leave India with a sprint victory on a shortened 79km seaside course on Sunday. Two days earlier Viviani edged out McEwen in the first race. Significantly, it was Hunter's first win for his new team and, like Viviani, will go down in history as his team's first ever win on Indian soil.

    However, the importance of the event went far beyond the racing. India's enormous population and growing economic status makes it a key to the growth of cycling as a sport around the world. The dramatic backdrop of Mumbai and the introduction of the sport to locals playing an important role both internationally and locally.

    The Tour du Mumbai also showcased India's growing experience as host of cycling events. Last October, New Delhi played host to the men's and women's road racing programme at the Commonwealth Games. Despite initial concerns over organisation and safety, the success of the road and time trial events proved that India could hold its own in terms of International cycling events.

    While the Mumbai event has had input from the UCI and international advisors, the organising committee is made up largely of local authorities.

    The exposure of cycling to India's approximately 1.2 billion...

  • Contador could escape ban, Spanish newspaper claims

    Alberto Contador made an emotional plea of innocence during his press conference
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 13:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Disciplinary Committee said to be swayed by Contador's defence arguments, Riis calls for patience

    The Spanish cycling federation's Disciplinary Committee could acquit Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank Sungard) of charges that he doped during the Tour de France last summer, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. The committee will inform the three-time winner Tuesday, the newspaper said, citing sources "close to the committee".

    Contador is due to travel tomorrow to Portugal and be at the start of the Tour of Algarve on Wednesday, El Pais said.

    The Committee had earlier issued a recommendation that Contador be suspended for one year after testing positive for Clenbuterol.

    However, he appealed that decision, and cited an article of the International Cycling Union's (UCI) doping regulations which says that a suspension can be eliminated if the rider has no fault or negligence.

    The Spaniard claims to have ingested the illegal doping product by unknowingly eating contaminated meat.

    If the charges are dismissed, the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) . Contador can appeal if the ruling goes against him.

    Contador was unavailable for comment but his press officer, Jacinto Vidarte, confirmed that the Spaniard would of course welcome the ruling, however nothing had officially been presented to the rider.

    “We’ve not had any official confirmation as of yet. If it’s true then it’s great news but like I said, all the information we have comes from the press,” Vidarte told Cyclingnews.

    Asked if Contador and his legal team expected an appeal from either the UCI or WADA to CAS he added:

    “I don’t want o speculate. Alberto has spent the last six months...

  • Cavendish hopes for first win of the season in Oman

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) before the start.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 16:05 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    HTC sprinter sees up to four opportunities for sprinters

    Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has yet to win a sprint in 2011 but after recovering from his high-speed crash in the Tour of Qatar prologue, he is quietly confident of securing his first victory of the year at the Tour of Oman.

    Cavendish was due to head home after completing the Tour of Qatar but opted to stay in the Gulf and ride the Tour of Oman to continue his preparation for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo, his big goal of the spring.

    The HTC-Highroad sprinter rode most of the Tour of Qatar wrapped in bandages after hitting a speed bump and crashing hard. Many riders would have quit but he stayed in the race, and worked to help teammate Mark Renshaw secure overall victory as he licked his wounds.

    The day before the start of the Tour of Oman, the bandages have gone from Cavendish's left arm and leg and he seemed almost back to his best.

    "I'm alright now. A couple of my scars are still covered up but all the others are healing well. I'm ok," he told Cyclingnews before going for a training ride with his teammates.

    "I could have gone home but I'm better off racing here than doing the same work in training. It's better to be here because I wouldn't be getting daily massage and I wouldn't be in a race regime, which is always better for me as I build up for Milan-San Remo.

    "Despite my crashes, my form is actually really good. I didn’t want to take too many risks after the crash in Qatar and I also had some back luck. But I'm happy with how I'm going, the team rode well and we won too."

    Four sprint finishes?

    The Tour of Oman is widely expected to be won by a climber, with the stage four uphill finish to...

  • Riders get ready for the Tour of Oman

    Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) in his classic looking rainbow jersey.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 17:47 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Photo gallery of the last training ride before the race

    With the start of the Tour of Oman less than 24 hours away, most of the 128 riders in the race went for one last training ride on Monday, spending a couple of hours in the saddle in the late morning sun. Race organiser and legend of cycling, 65-year-old Eddy Merckx, also headed out for a spin.

    Several teams have shuffled their line-up since the Tour of Qatar, bringing in overall contenders and climbers for the hillier six-day race, in the place of the sprinters and rouleur riders who raced at the Tour of Qatar.

    Garmin-Cervelo has perhaps made the biggest change, with world champion Thor Hushovd, Christian Vande Velde and Cameron Meyer coming into their eight-man squad.

    The Tour of Oman will be Hushovd's first race with Garmin-Cervelo after missing the Challenge Mallorca due to illness. The 33-year-old Norwegian has gone for a classic look on the bike, with his black shorts and clean looking world champion's jersey allowing the distinctive rainbow stripes to stand out. The only touches of the rainbow are on his white Cervelo S3 and on his Bont shoes.

    Vande Velde looked fit but admitted he was a little worried about the gradient of the climb to the finish on Jabal al Akhdhar and the roller coaster profile of the 18.5km time trial.

    Mark Cavendish made sure HTC-Highroad left on time for their ride and is confident he can challenge on the four possible sprint finishes. He was scheduled to return to Europe after Qatar but has stayed on for some extra racing as he looks for his first victory of the 2011 season. HTC-Highroad also has Matt Goss as a sprinting alternative and has brought in Marco Pinotti to target overall victory.

    A special Specialized bike...

  • Dutch rider Den Hertog dies at age 64

    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 20:48 GMT
    Cycling News

    Considered greatest amateur rider of his time

    Fedor den Hertog, one of the Netherlands' most successful amateur riders, died Saturday after a long illness. The 64-year-old had won an Olympic gold medal and stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

    Den Hertog was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007. He died in hospice in Ermelo.

    He won the gold medal in the 100 km team trial at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City, along with teammates Joop Zoetemelk, Jan Krekels and René Pijnen.

    Den Hertog was considered one of the best amateur riders in the world from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. He won national titles on the track, and also won the Milk Race (twice), the our of B Belgium, Tour de l'Avenir, and the Olympia Tour, as well s the DDR Rundfahrt (Tour of East Germany).

    In 1969, he won the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, after winning all eight stages, or according to other sources, nine of the eleven stages.

    Den Hertog turned pro in 1974, but was not as successful as he had been as an amateur. However, he won stages in the Tour of Netherlands, Tour of the Mediterranean, and Paris-Nice,. His biggest year professionally was 1977, when he won stages in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, as well as the Dutch national road title.


  • Sixteen teams selected for Critérium International

    2010 Criterium International top three (l-r): Michael Rogers, 2nd; Pierrick Fédrigo, 1st; Tiago Machado, 3rd.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2011, 21:53 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race returns to Corsica for second straight year

    Sixteen teams have been selected to take place in the 80th edition of the Critérium International, taking place March 26-27, race organisers Amaury Sport Organisation announced today. Nine ProTeams, six Professional Continental teams and one Continental squad, fielding eight-man teams, will participate in the two-day, three-stage event which will take place on Corsica for the second straight year.

    2010 winner Pierrick Fédrigo will defend his title on his new team, FDJ. The 32-year-old Frenchman soloed to victory on the opening stage and fended off his rivals over the second stage road race and concluding time trial to win by 14 seconds over Michael Rogers and 15 seconds ahead of Tiago Machado.

    Jens Voigt (Leopard Trek), the 2009 champion of Critérium International but absent in 2010, is also expected to compete and will be seeking a record-breaking sixth championship. The 39-year-old German shares with Frenchman Raymond Poulidor the current Critérium International win record at five victories.

    2011 Critérium International teams

    AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
    Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spa)
    Leopard Trek (Lux)
    Movistar Team (Spa)
    Pro Team Astana (Kaz)
    Sky Procycling (GBr)
    Team Garmin-Cervélo (USA)
    Team RadioShack (USA)
    Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)

    Professional Continental teams
    Bretagne-Schuller (Fra)
    Cofidis, le Crédit en Ligne (Fra)
    FDJ (Fra)
    Saur-Sojasun (Fra)
    Team Europcar (Fra)

  • Video: Renshaw on winning Tour of Qatar

    Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad)
    Article published:
    February 15, 2011, 7:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Aussie hopes maiden race win is a catalyst for world championship success

    Mark Renshaw is hopeful that the maiden race win of his career in this week's Tour of Qatar is just the start of a highly successful 2011 season.

    In this interview following his victory over compatriot Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) and Italian Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek), Renshaw explains how his team's focus was forced to shift from Mark Cavendish following the Manxman's second crash in as many events. The Australian told Cyclingnews he was "very happy" to take the stage win in Al Kharaitiyat which cemented his overall lead.

    The Tour of Qatar is just the start of another busy season for the 28-year-old. By May, Renshaw will again be guiding Cavendish through the Giro d'Italia before it's onto the Tour de Suisse and Tour de France, although he admits he is hopeful of being able to collect a few results for himself along the way.

    Renshaw's biggest solo focus will be on leading the Australian outfit for the world championships in Denmark in late September however, he knows that some of his toughest competition will come from his own HTC Highroad teammate Matthew Goss.