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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Date published:
February 09, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Cozza breaks collarbone in Qatar

    Steven Cozza (Garmin-Transitions) is keeping a positive attitude in spite of bad luck.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 0:43 GMT
    Stephen Farrand

    Garmin rider to have plate fitted after third fracture

    Garmin-Transitions' Steven Cozza became the second rider to broke his collarbone during stage two of the Tour of Qatar on Monday after Team Sky's Kurt-Asle Arvesen's fracture.

    The likeable rider from California hit a pothole in the rough roads and lost control of his bike. Unfortunately he landed on his left shoulder and his collarbone gave way, fracturing in the same point it had during two previous career crashes.

    It meant the end of Cozza's race and he will now travel to Belgium to have a plate fitted on his fracture. It will mean more pain, but the hard man of US admitted he did not even take painkiller after his crash.

    "It's the third time I've broken my collarbone and in the same place. I'm getting kind of used to it but it's not something I want to get used to," he told Cyclingnews after dinner in the race hotel at the Tour of Qatar.

    "I have to get it operated on now because a collarbone never really heals properly. After three breaks in the same place it's about time I get it sorted out so that it doesn't keep breaking."

    While Arvesen crashed in the neutralised section of the race, Cozza crashed after 50km when the side winds and high-speed attacks were splitting the peloton into echelons.

    "It's so dangerous out there with all the wind and stuff and it happened when the cross-winds started coming and we started racing hard," he said.

    "It was a like a war zone and it was every man for himself. I think I hit a bump because there's a lot of potholes out there and my hands slipped off the handlebars. Unfortunately as I went down I took out my teammate Martijn (Maaskant) as well. That's party of cycling but fortunately he's okay."

    "It'll make me stronger for the future"

    Cozza was disappointed to have crashed out of the early season race but true to character, he stayed optimistic, saying this latest setback will only make him stronger for the future.

  • Ullrich can hold on to Olympic gold medal

    Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) salutes from the podium
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 9:40 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    IOC says only remote possibility of re-opening doping investigation

    Jan Ullrich will continue to hold on to his gold and silver medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says it lacks sufficient evidence to take action against the former German professional on suspicion of doping.

    “The investigation is closed,” said IOC Communications director Mark Adam, according to the SID news agency. “It can only be re-opened one time, if there is new evidence against him. But that looks unlikely.”

    Ullrich won the men's road race in Sydney, ahead of Team Telekom teammates Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden. He also claimed the silver medal in the men's individual time trial at the same Olympics.

    In 2006, Ullrich was named as a suspected patient of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes in the Operación Puerto doping affair, which led to his retirement in February 2007.

    “Right now we can't do anything. The case is on ice,” Denis Oswald, a senior member of the IOC board and director of the IOC's disciplinary committee for this month's Vancouver winter Olympics, told the dpa press agency.

    The IOC has studied the files of prosecutors in Bonn, Germany, who have investigated Ullrich's alleged involvement in doping, as well as those of both the Freiburg University Clinic investigation and Operación Puerto. However, the IOC has admitted that none of these cases include evidence applicable to the period around the 2000 Olympics.

    IOC Vice President Thomas Bach of Germany said that there was no new evidence in the files from German prosecutors. “They don't address the question of what happened in 2000. We still don't know whether the Spaniards have additional files. They don't seem to want to give anything out.”

    “We will surely know more one day,” Oswald said. “Most likely something will come from Spain.” He indicated that this...

  • Sciandri pays respects to Ballerini

    A rallying enthusiast, Ballerini sadly passed when he was involved in a rally accident in February 2010
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 10:00 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Italian coach to be laid to rest in Casalguidi today

    Some of Italian cycling’s biggest names will line up to pay their respects at Franco Ballerini’s funeral today at the Church of San Pietro e Paolo in Casalguidi, Italy. Among those in attendance will be Ballerini’s friend Max Sciandri, who rose through the professional ranks alongside the two-time Paris-Roubaix winner.

    Although they never raced on the same team, Ballerini and Sciandri were the closest of friends. "We grew up together. He turned pro and then I turned pro and we lived in the same town for roughly eight years, just 200 meters apart. We trained together nearly every day, spent New Year’s together and holidayed too," Sciandri told Cyclingnews from his home in Italy.

    The pair had met only days before Ballerini’s fatal accident when his youngest son spent the night at the Sciandris' home. "I recently bought a BMW motorbike and we were in my garage and he invited me to the [rally] race on Sunday."

    However Sciandri was unable to attend the race and awoke on Sunday to the news that Ballerini had died.

    "I couldn’t believe it. You have no words for something like that. It’s totally out of the blue. I remember that it was an incredibly beautiful morning I woke up really early. There were blue skies and after half an hour I got the phone call telling me that he’d died. It’s an incredible loss of an incredible cyclist but most importantly an incredible friend."

    Both riders competed in some of the most exciting Classics in the mid-1990s and despite their friendship the two were able to put their relationship aside when it came to racing.

    "There were a few great Classics battles between us. In 1997 when [Rolf] Sørensen won Flanders were both right up there competing against each other and it was a lot of fun. I was at La Française des Jeux and he was at Mapei and he took third. I have to say that we were fantastic friends and rivals on the...

  • Sevilla and Peña cautious in commitment to Rock Racing

    Victor Hugo Pena (Rock Racing) sitting on the front for the team.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 10:49 GMT
    Richard Tyler

    Spaniard and Colombian to stay if UCI grants team Continental status

    Spaniard Oscar Sevilla and Colombian Víctor Hugo Peña have agreed to remain with Rock Racing for the 2010 season on the condition that the team receives a Continental licence from the International Cycling Union (UCI).

    Colombian daily El Tiempo reports that Sevilla and Peña have confirmed conditional contracts with the team which include clauses allowing for the dissolution of the agreement if the team fails in its bid to secure Continental status.

    "This signature does not mean that we are with Rock. What will happen is that if the team gets the Continental licence we will stay, otherwise we have agreed to be allowed to seek other options," Sevilla told the newspaper.

    Rock Racing had hoped to secure a Professional Continental licence for the current season but was unable to satisfy the UCI's criteria for the second-tier status. Cycling's governing body is currently considering the application of the team for an extension of its third-tier Continental licence.

    Spanish media sources reported earlier this month that Rock Racing could form a co-operation with Spain's Murcia team, who had have faced ongoing sponsorship difficulties since the end of the 2009 season. However, Sevilla said he is far from convinced about the reports of a Mexican registered Rock Racing-Murcia outfit.

    "I am a little sceptical of everything that has happened. I train every day waiting for what will happen. There is talk of something in Mexico and Murcia, but we have nothing confirmed."

  • Freire back to his winning ways

    Óscar Freire (Rabobank) celebrates his win in the Trofeo Cala Millor.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 12:12 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Rabobank sprinter pleased with new lead-out man Leezer

    Rabobank's Oscar Freire opened his 2010 season account with victory on day two of Challenge Mallorca with a sprint win over André Greipel (HTC-Columbia) and Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto).

    In his second race of the year, the Trofeo Cala Millor, Freire finished fastest out of a group of sprinters that included in-form rivals Greipel and Cardoso. Although pleased with his victory, Freire was cautious in his assessment of the result. "It is indeed a nice feeling, but we must not exaggerate," he said on the team's website. "I'm not that much better than last year around this time."

    The Spaniard's measured response to victory stems from a lean 2009 season, which saw him claim just two wins. Both victories came at the Tour de Romandie in the spring, but the long dry spell was not that hard to survive, he claimed. "I never doubted myself. I can still do it. The difference between winning and losing is minimal for sprinters."

    Despite talk of his imminent retirement last year, Freire ultimately decided to prolong his career as far as the end of 2011, with his attention this season on the Giro d'Italia and a possible fourth World Championship title.

    With the experience of 12 seasons as a professional behind him Freire, 33, is only too aware of the variables that can affect victory. "Your mood, type of day, circumstances and sometimes someone else is simply better."

    New lead-out looks good with Leezer

    In his first two races at this year's Mallorca Challenge, Freire has been led out by teammate Tom Leezer for the first time. Sunday's race, where Freire finished third behind Katusha's Robbie McEwen, "was a test, we made a small mistake but it actually felt very good. Today was so smooth, it couldn't go wrong."

    His collaboration with Leezer "was excellent," said the three-time World Champion, but he was not surprised. "I knew what Tom could do [even though] we have only had a rare chance to...

  • Ciolek out of Qatar with broken collarbone

    Gerald Ciolek (Team Milram)
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 14:56 GMT
    Susan Westemeyer

    Milram sprinter joins growing injury list after stage three pile-up

    Milram's Gerald Ciolek became the latest victim of a broken collarbone at this year's edition of the Tour of Qatar. The German sprinter was one of a number of riders to go down in a mass pile-up with 300 metres to go in the event's third stage.

    Ciolek, 23, “will be flown back to Germany as quickly as possible,” said Milram Directeur Sportif Ralf Grabsch. “The doctors there will see how complicated the fracture is and whether surgery is needed or not.”

    Ciolek's teammate Roger Kluge was also involved in the crash, but remained uninjured. The 24-year-old German was able to defend the white jersey for best young rider which he had claimed the day before.

    On Monday's second stage of the Tour of Qatar, two riders were forced out of the event with broken collarbones: Steven Cozza of Garmin-Transitions and Kurt-Asle Arvesen of Sky Pro Cycling.

  • An Post Sean Kelly Team presents 2010 team

    The 2010 An Post Sean Kelly Team
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 17:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former mountain biker and new team member McConvey switches to the road

    The An Post sponsored Seán Kelly Cycling team presented its 2010 line-up on Tuesday. The team, with 18 total riders, announced 10 new signings.

    Irish team members Páidi O'Brien, Mark Cassidy, David O'Loughlin, Matt Brammeier and Ronan McLaughlin will all return from 2009.  Notable new addition, Belfast man Connor McConvey, who has made the switch from mountain biking to road racing, will add to the ranks.

    "I'm really looking forward to pushing on this year with the An Post team," O'Brien said. "The training camp in Calpe went particularly well, and I get the feeling that this is the best shape the team has ever been in."

    O'Brien's statement was backed up by the blistering start to the season which included last Sunday's Etoile de Bessèges stage win for Belgian rider Niko Eeckhout, who renewed with the team for 2010. New signing Pieter Ghyllebert, a fellow Belgian, finished third overall in the same race.

    Ghyllabert is one of eight new Belgian riders to join the team in 2010, including Maxim Debusschere, Stijn Minne, Kim Borry, Gil Suray, Bjorn Brems, Pascal Hossay, and Brice Scholten. They join existing team members Eeckhout, Kenny Lisabeth and Benny De Shrooder to make up a strong Belgian contingent. Liverpudlian Mark McNally, a former Gold medallist at the European Junior European Track Championships, completes the line up having joined from UK professional outfit Halfords-Bikehut.

    The team finished a two-week training camp in Calpe in Southern Spain last month, and their 2010 campaign commenced at the end of January with a positive showing at GP Marseillaise in France, followed by the Tour Etoile de Bessèges. The team will be back in action on February 17 at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.

    The An Post squad will return to Ireland for the nation's top races, the Rás, Tour of Ireland and national championships.

    "Our schedule for 2010 is now complete and we will...

  • Amgen Tour of California: Up and down route for opening two stages

    The final 2009 Tour of California podium is all smiles (l-r): Michael Rogers, 3rd; Levi Leipheimer, 1st; and David Zabriskie, 2nd.
    Article published:
    February 09, 2010, 17:12 GMT
    Daniel Benson

    Approach to Santa Rosa to feature Trinity Road climb

    Tour of California organisers (AEG) have released specific details for the first two stages of the 2010 race with the remainder of the stages set to be unveiled in the coming days.

    The eight-day race starts with a 167.8 kilometre road stage from Nevada City to Sacramento. It marks the race's first visit to the town, and unlike the first four editions of the race, this year will begin without a typical prologue. That should suit the sprinters down to the ground but before they get to the finish in Sacramento they'll have to negotiate undulating terrain as the route weaves through the Alta Sierra, Meadow Vista and El Dorado County. The final thirty kilometres are almost pancake flat.

    The second stage of 176.2km from Davis to Santa Rosa is similar to the first road stage in 2009 and just like last year will provide plenty of scenic settings for both the cyclists and the spectators. Beginning in the city of Davis, the route includes evenly spaced climbs throughout the stage and spectacular views. After 20 miles of flat roads, the riders will meet their first climb up a short, but steep section leading up to the Monticello Dam.

    Another long, flat section along Lake Berryessa will take the riders to their second climb up Howell Mountain Rd., followed by a fast descent into Napa Valley. New for 2010 is the Trinity Road climb, which as been used in past editions from the opposite direction. The climb is longer than those used in the approach to Santa Rosa last year, and even with the fast descent down to the finish the difficulty of the climb should rule out a bunch sprint.

    Last year it was the horrific weather which helped Spaniard Francesco Mancebo to stun the race by breaking away with Tim Johnson (OUCH-Maxxis) and David Kemp (Fly V-Australia) before leaving the pair behind to win the stage to Santa Rosa and take the lead in the overall.

    Other teams complained that poor radio communications in the bad weather caused confusion...