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First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Date published:
January 10, 2012, 10:00
  • Gallery: Omega Pharma–Quick-Step trains in Benicassim

    Article published:
    January 9, 2012, 17:47
    By:
    Cycling News

    Belgian outfit make use of warm weather

    Almost a week into the their training camp in Benicassim, Spain and Omega Pharma–Quick-Step is ramping up their preparations ahead of the 2012 road season.

    The likes of Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel and Tony Martin have all been racking up the miles with team director Tom Steels having the riders focus on, "rhythm and speed so we’ll be ready in the first races of the season, starting with the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.”

    The Tour Down Under selection have already left for Australia, while Zdenek Stybar has been focussing on his cyclo-cross campaign. Levi Leipheimer is another noticeable absentee - the American has been allowed to remain at home in California in order to prepare for his season.

    “We all agreed on this decision, so Levi won’t lose any training days as he works towards his season debut at the Tour de San Luis,” said Steels.

  • Tour Méditerranéen to go forward

    David Moncoutie (Cofidis) celebrates his win atop Mont Faron in the Tour Méditerranéen's final stage.
    Article published:
    January 9, 2012, 20:43
    By:
    Cycling News

    18 teams announced for French race

    The Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel is set to go forward after its licensing issues have been cleared up, the race organisers announced last week, and a list of 18 teams which will take the start in Pertuis on February 9 has been released.

    WorldTour squads Vacansoleil-DCM, Saxo Bank, GreenEdge, FDJ - BigMat, Movistar, Garmin-Cervélo, Astana and AG2R-La Mondiale will be joined on the line by Accent.Jobs-Willems Veranda's, Acqua & Sapone, Team Type 1-Sanofi, Europcar, Cofidis, Bretagne Schuller, Spidertech and Saur Sojasun, as well as Continental teams VC La Pomme Marseille and Endura Racing. The remainder of the field will be announced at the presentation on January 30.

    The Tour Méditerranéen was said to be in doubt last month after it failed to be registered on the UCI's Europe Tour calendar. The organisers were reportedly in conflict with the French Cycling League over the payment of fees, and the French Cycling Federation announced that the race would not receive a license.

    However, a meeting between race promoter Lucien Aimar, FFC president David Lappartient and FCL head Marc Madiot has, according to Aimar, resolved the conflict.

    "I have received a letter from the federation indicating that, as of today, the financial obligations of the Olympique club de Costebelle to the national cycling league have been settled," Aimar said to varmatin.com. In short, all of our hassles have been ironed out and we can now look foward."

    Aimar clarified that the application to hold the race under the UCI's Europe Tour as a category 2.1 event will be resolved soon.

  • Guardini looking for improvement on the climbs

    Andrea Guardini at the 2012 Giro d'Italia presentation
    Article published:
    January 9, 2012, 21:22
    By:
    Cycling News

    Italian wants to take on Cavendish at Giro d'Italia

    After capturing 11 victories in his first season as a professional, Andrea Guardini (Farnese-Selle Italia) is looking to continue his progress in 2012 by improving on his climbing.

    The 22-year-old sprinter gave ample demonstration of his devastating speed in the finishing straight throughout 2011, but struggled at times when the road went uphill, including when he was one of a number of riders eliminated on the opening stage of the Settimana Lombarda in September.

    “I was born a sprinter and I know that I have to improve in the climbs, but it’s not an obsession,” Guardini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve already started doing it, and riding hard races like the Tour of Austria and the Tour of Portugal last year was very useful.”

    Understandably for an Italian fast man, Guardini’s long-term aim is Milan-San Remo, but he acknowledged that he is still a couple of years shy of being able to contend for victory on the Lungomare Italo Calvino.

    “One step at a time: this year, I couldn’t aim to win San Remo yet, a race that you don’t just muddle through,” Guardini said. Under the guidance of Luca Scinto, however, the man from Colognola ai Colli near Verona has made considerable strides in improving his endurance.

    “Two years ago, even racing 200km was a problem for me, but it’s now much less so,” he said. “I trust in Luca Scinto, who follows my preparation and who I consider to be the most charismatic of the Italian directeurs sportifs.”

    Farnese-Selle Italia are among the candidates for the Giro d’Italia’s four wildcard invitations, which are due to be announced on January 10. After Scinto opted to withhold his protégé from the corsa rosa last year, Guardini is enthusiastic about the possibility of taking on world champion Mark Cavendish in May.

    “It certainly won’t be easy, but I’m working in order to beat him,” he said. “It’s like I’m still in dream. Up to now, I’ve been going well, so why should I stop?”

     

     

     

  • Gilmore revamps race program after rough start

    A celebration for for stage winner and race leader, Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto Honda)
    Article published:
    January 9, 2012, 22:00
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Commonwealth champion still confident of Olympic selection

    The return of Rochelle Gilmore (BikeExchange Dream Team) following a prolonged layoff due to injury has been bumpy to say the least, however the 30-year-old is maintaining a positive outlook.

    Gilmore abandoned the third stage of the Jayco Bay Classic, did not start the Australian Criterium Championships in Ballarat on Thursday evening. She then rode just one lap of the Australian elite women's road race on Saturday before being forced to withdraw, citing on her twitter feed that she'd ridden "1 lap too many."

    Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Bay Classic, Gilmore, defending champion explained: "I was definitely coming into this series hoping and wanting to do well and to try and win the series, but the reality is that I've only been on the bike for three weeks so I have to have a really good reality check and realise where I'm at."

    With that in mind, Gilmore will not ride the Santos Women's Cup, run in conjunction with the Tour Down Under from January 15. "My main focus is the 1st of February which is the Tour of Qatar so whether I need that much racing in January is a question I will have to answer after road nationals," Gilmore explained. "The Tour of Qatar is a pretty heavy schedule."

    Gilmore's best result at the Bay Classic last week was a third placing on the opening stage, in a series dominated by the performances of the GreenEdge-AIS team with Melissa Hoskins claiming the overall victory. Chloe Hosking was also a strong performer.

    Although Gilmore maintains that her situation could be a lot worse, and seems unconcerned that her rivals are well ahead of her at this point in time with just three spots on the women's road team available for the London Olympic Games in July.

    "I think with the GreenEdge girls that any one of them could make the Olympic team, they're all very strong," Gilmore admits. "For me mentally coming here racing against them and being very close to their form it gives me a lot of confidence because I was in hospital having surgery under general anaesthetic when they were in training camp.

    "You've also got Chloe [Hosking] and Loren Rowney from outside GreenEdge so I think the Olympic selection is very open given we haven't had the first international race of the season yet. We really need to wait until February to see who's at world level."

  • Video: Clarke earns Tour Down Under bid

    The race was still up for grabs between several riders nearing the final two laps.
    Article published:
    January 9, 2012, 23:00
    By:
    Alex Hinds

    Nationals performance noticed by UniSA

    Will Clarke (Champion System) surprised many with his strength on the hilly Buninyong course this weekend at the Mars Cycling Australia elite men's road race. Clarke's nearly two-meter frame is not exactly suited to climbing, but he showed no shortage of wattage as he powered around the 10.1 kilometre circuit.

    The display earned him fifth place on the day and the sprint classification, but perhaps more importantly gave him a coveted selection in this year's UniSA-Australia team for the Tour Down Under. Clarke admits that he had aspired to make the squad with a good result, but found it tough going as a lone rider against the GreenEdge armada.

    "It was hard to know which guys to follow," said Clarke. "But after a while you figured out who were the stronger guys, who it was worth following, and that made it a lot easier.

    Having ridden last year with the Leopard-Trek squad, Clarke looked like a changed rider in comparison to his nationals performance just 12 months ago when he finished way out of the picture in 30th. He explained that though it had been a hard year and a lot of race days with the team, he'd certainly learned a lot and was feeling confident ahead of the Tour Down Under.

    "Coming from Genesys the year before and riding in Australia, to going to Europe and seeing how they do it over there, I think it's made me a lot stronger and it was a great experience for me. I'm going a lot better this year versus last year, so hopefully I can go well at the Tour Down Under as well."

    And on the mess that occurred after the disbanding of the Leopard-Trek team in September Clarke remained positive.

    "There were 10 or so of us who were unlucky to be let go, we all found out a bit late. But I was lucky to find a ride with Champion System who have put together a really good program. So that's something to look forward to."

    Watch the full video interview below

  • Video: Dennis emulates Bobridge's 2009 feat by claiming dual titles

    Eventual race winner, Rohan Dennis from South Australia, follows Eric Sheppard up the climb on Mt.Buninyong
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 06:30
    By:
    Jane Aubrey & Alex Hinds

    Next stop Tour Down Under for 21-year-old

    Rohan Dennis’ performance in the 2012 Mars Cycling Australia road national championships had him forging his own little bit of history. He became only the second Australian male rider ever to take both time trial and road titles, joining Jack Bobridge who first pulled off the double in 2009.

    For Dennis, as he explained to Cyclingnews, the formula was a simple one. His plan was to go flat out, knowing in the back of his mind that if he could get somewhere close to Luke Durbridge’s winning ride last year, he’d be close to bagging the title.

    "I had it on the computer in front of me, the time I was aiming for. I kept looking down every minute or so to check where I was at," said Dennis.

    "When I finished I realised I was a little off Durbridge’s time so I wasn’t entirely confident about whether I’d done it. But when Damien came in and I knew I’d got it."

    Dennis is next off to the Tour Down Under where he’ll represent the UniSA-Australia team.

    Watch the full video below.

  • GreenEdge use of radio questioned in Australian Time Trial Championship

    Luke Durbridge approaches the finish to the men's elite time trial during his gold medal ride.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 08:58
    By:
    Jane Aubrey

    Commissaires overturn national regulation hour before start

    Cyclingnews has learned GreenEdge applied "pressure" to the commissaires panel prior to the elite men's individual time trial at the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships at Learmonth on Tuesday. Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) won the gold medal ahead of teammate and two-time defending champion Cameron Meyer and Michael Rogers (Sky).

    "Stevo [Neil Stephens] was in my ear the whole way and it was getting quite annoying actually, I just wanted to finish," Durbridge laughed in a post-race interview.

    One entrant approached Cyclingnews, not wishing to be identified, raising their concerns with the late decision. The rider made clear that their anonymity was due to the fact that they did not want to be seen as "whinging" about the final result.

    Cycling Australia technical regulations state that: During races the use of radio links or other means of communication with the riders is not permitted.

    Discussion was raised with the commissaire's panel during the women's event and a decision was made prior to 1pm with the men's event starting at 2pm.

    Cyclingnews spoke to Chief Commissaire Peter Tomlinson about the adjudication.

    "It was opened up for the elite men after some pressure from a particular WorldTour Team," Tomlinson explained, later confirming that the team in question was in fact GreenEdge.

    "We made an effort to go around and tell as many [teams] as possible."

    Asked whether everybody racing was informed, Tomlinson admitted he "can't say yes or no."

    Tomlinson did not believe that the decision to allow radios resulted in some riders having an advantage.

    "I think radios in a time trial is just a means of getting communication," he told Cyclingnews. "The others had speakers and they were able to get detail from the car so everybody was able to have a following car and have means of communicating. That would be a bit of a harsh call to say that affected the result in any way."

    Apart from any advantage gained from the use of radios, concern was raised over the timing of the decision, with smaller teams and individual entrants not bringing radio equipment with them. Tomlinson agreed that this was an issue, "Because then people probably didn't have the equipment with them and things like that," he said.

     

    Tags:
    GreenEdge
  • CAS denies prejudice in Contador case

    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 09:30
    By:
    Cycling News

    Says Israeli judge won't be swayed by location of Saxo Bank training camp

    The Court of Arbitraiton for Sport has denied that Israeli judge Ephraim Barak will be influenced in his decision in the Alberto Contador case by the fact that Team Saxo Bank held its training camp in Israel last month.  RadioShack-Nissan team owner Flavio Becca had indicated that the Israeli connection would lead to a acquittal for Contador.

    “An Israeli judge will issue a ruling on Contador, and Saxo Bank is doing its training camp in Israel, even being officially received by the government. There are two facts that can not be separated. At this point, I think everything is already decided,"Becca said last week to Le Quotidien.

    “Normally I would not comment on such allegations. But it's so sad that accusations against our authority, credibility, and one of our arbitration panel are made, that I will note that it is untrue speculation without any basis in reality” CAS spokesman Matthieu Reeb told sporten.dk

    “He is not for sale. We are quite confident about his independence, and if you review his resume, you will also notice that he neither has any connection to the world of cycling or the Israeli government.”

    Barack is the president of the three-man commission on the Contador hearings, and the only one independently assigned to the case. The other judges are Ulrich Hass, of Germany, chosen by the  UCI and WADA, and Quentin Byrne-Sutton from Switzerland, selected by Contador.

    Saxo Bank team owner Bjarne Riis declined to comment on the issue. “I have read the story, but out of respect for the proceedings, I have no comment until we have received a decision,” he said to ekstrabladet.dk