Fabian Cancellara left the Danish team of Saxo Bank to join Luxembourg's Leopard Trek, but he still has his sights fixed on Denmark. The Swiss rider is aiming at winning the Worlds road race in Copenhagen this September.
“My goals for the season are the Classics and Copenhagen later this year. Those are my two big goals,” he told the Ritzau news agency.
Having won the World time trial title four times, he will concentrate instead on the road race, an event in which his highest finish was fifth in 2009.
The flat course in the Danish capital will suit him. “There are not many hills in Denmark, and I know the area fairly well – especially around Copenhagen – but it's going to be hard, even if the route is not particularly tough,” he said.
There could be one difficulty, though. “I believe that the weather conditions can have a major impact. It can be 15 degrees (Celsius) and a beautiful day, but it can also be five degrees in the rain on narrow roads.”
New Zealand team plans international race programme in 2011
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has registered the New Zealand PureBlack Racing as a UCI Continental road team for 2011.
The team was launched in the summer of 2010 with the aim of becoming New Zealand’s first ever UCI ProTeam and has set a goal of riding the Tour de France by 2015. The team plans to compete in events on both the US and the Oceania calendars during 2011.
The team has revealed that its first international appearance will be the Professional Criterium in Singapore on Saturday, March 5, held during the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2011 event. It is one of the first night-time cycling races in the Asia Pacific to be fully lit for television. Tim Gudsell (the 2011 New Zealand National criterium champion), Mike Northey, Roman Van Uden and Shem Rodger will be riding for Pure Black Racing in Singapore.
In the interim, Gudsell, Northey, Glen Chadwick, Scott Lyttle and James Williamson will ride in the Trust House Cycle Classic from January 26-30. The five- stage UCI Oceania Tour event will be PureBlack Racing's final race in New Zealand before beginning its 2011 international programme.
The remainder of the team will prepare for the new season at a training camp at Lake Karapiro.
"Everyone on the team will complete an extensive programme at Karapiro, before we launch Pure Black Racing onto the international circuit," team manager, Carl Williams said in a statement.
"In any team sport there's a point when you transition from domestic to international competition. While we realise that PureBlack Racing has a lot to learn, we are committed to being competitive, as a team, in our first year in the UCI Continental competition."
2011 PureBlack Racing Continental team roster
Roman Van Uden
RadioShack sponsorship to be decided before the Tour de France
RadioShack team manager Johan Bruyneel dismissed the accusations against Lance Armstrong published in Sports Illustrated last week, saying they were old news and didn't cause him to lose any sleep at night.
Speaking to Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure, Bruyneel also revealed that he is currently looking to secure the RadioShack team's sponsorship for 2012 and claims that Armstrong could have finished on the podium in his last ever Tour de France in 2010.
"It's frustrating to see that these things keep coming back. There is nothing new in what Sports Illustrated revealed this week regarding Stephen Swart," Bruyneel said, focusing on the accusations from Armstrong's former US Postal Service teammate.
"It has already been already written by other people. It is 15 years old! But it's Lance, so it makes a buzz. We've become immune to it, and it doesn't stop me (from) sleeping."
Bruyneel also denied accusations in Sports Illustrated regarding the search of Yaroslav Popovych's home in Tuscany last November.
"I don't know who requested this search. I immediately called Popovych, who assured me that the police hadn't seized any product, nothing suspicious, and he told me not to worry. I believe him and for the moment, I don't know anything more. "
Tour de France memories
Bruyneel was in Australia to see Armstrong compete at the Tour Down Under. Bruyneel confirmed it would be the Texan's last ever race outside of the United States.
"The Tour Down Under is his last race outside the US. He's still got to take part in Tour of California in May, and then he'll take a long vacation." Bruyneel said.
The Belgian admits that he is especially close to Armstrong. The two began working together when Armstrong made his comeback from cancer in 1998 and Bruyneel was in the team car when Armstrong won all of his seven Tour de France victories.
"I'll never have the same kind of relationship with another rider," Bruyneel said.
"I don't have the same enthusiasm than I had in 1999, at the beginning of our adventure, but I still love to manage a team, rebuilding it after working many years with the same guys. I feel responsible for the 60 people who work for the team."
Armstrong's last ever Tour de France was dogged by crashes and he reached Paris 29:30 behind Alberto Contador. Yet Bruyneel is convinced that Armstrong could have finished on the podium and disagreed with Armstrong's own suggestion that his comeback was some how a failure.
"It'd obviously be easy to agree but without his flat on the pave, without the crashes on the stage to Morzine, I think Lance would have finished in third place behind the two youngsters, Contador and Schleck, like in 2009," Bruyneel said.
"Given what he showed at the Tour de Suisse in June, (where he finished second to Frank Schleck), I really thought he would finish on the podium again. Finishing third twice at the Tour de France at nearly 40 would have been a success."
"His game plan was to gain some time before the mountains and especially on the pave stages. It was a blow to his moral that day and the stage to Morzine was a difficult day for both of us. It was sad following him on a big climb at 5km/hr slower than his usual speed. But he was dignified at the finish and told all the team that he would not abandon the race; that he'd get to Paris."
"But we still managed to win the 2009 Tour de France (as a team with Alberto Contador), and we found a new sponsor, RadioShack. That would have been impossible without Lance. We're speaking at the moment to extend that contract and it will be sorted out before the Tour de France."
Bruyneel is hoping that in the absence of Armstrong, other riders at RadioShack will step up and in some way fill his shoes.
"I hope that his victory in the Criterium du Dauphiné has been a turning point for Janez Brajkovic. "He's still the only rider to beat Contador in a race the Spaniard wanted to win in 2010," Bruyneel said.
"Tiago Machado has a great future but he must learn to race. And there is still Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Klöden, and excellent young riders like Ben Hermans and Jesse Sergent."
Former Garmin-Cervelo directeur sportif Matt White has told Cyclingnews that he knew of physician Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral simply because "he was the old US Postal team doctor" where he was a domestique between 2001 and 2003.
White was dismissed by Slipstream Sports on Sunday following a meeting with Garmin-Cervelo manager, Jonathan Vaughters. The move came after discovering that White referred Trent Lowe to the former US postal team physician del Moral at the Sports Institute of Valencia, Spain in April 2009. The former Garmin rider met with del Moral for a Vo2 test which contravened the team's strict anti-doping and medical referral rules.
Del Moral is still the director of the Institute of Sports Medicine of Valencia and is a key player in a sports consultancy clinic called Performa which is also operated out of Valencia as well as in Miami in the United States.
Cyclingnews was referred back to White's statement made following his dismissal for further clarification on his decision to send Lowe to the Spanish doctor.
"My commitment as Sports Director has always been to ensuring the optimal health and well-being of our riders," White said. "So when Trent Lowe, who was living in Valencia and who had been sick for a long time, came to me for help, I sent him to the local Valencian sports institute for testing so we could find out what we were dealing with. I understand that the rules are the rules. I am very sorry for my mistake and I am ready to move on."
White later added that for Lowe, who was living just outside of Valencia, to travel to Girona as Vaughters has stated he would have preferred would have meant travelling nearly 400 kilometres.
Cyclingnews had been told that Vaughters had been in Adelaide to watch the Tour Down Under where the team claimed a general classification victory through Cameron Meyer, for several days leading up to White's dismissal however, White says that he nor the team knew anything of Vaughters presence.
"Rumour has it anyway," he told Cyclingnews of Vaughters' presence. "I knew he was in town 30 minutes before the last stage criterium started when he emailed me to tell me that we needed to talk after the race."
Following Meyer's win, Vaughters first spoke with White where an agreement to end the Australian's contract one year early was reached. White then talked to his riders individually, and Vaughters then met with Garmin-Cervelo's Tour Down Under riders to inform them of the decision.
White was unwilling to comment on speculation that Garmin-Cervelo were only notified of Lowe's visit to del Moral following a contract dispute between the rider and the team late last year.
"That's something that's been printed but I'm not commenting on that," White said while added he had not spoken to Lowe for nearly one year due to conflicting schedules. White also says that there had not been any discord between the two.
White's immediate future up in the air
Cycling Australia recently named White as its new national men's high performance road co-ordinator where he would direct the men's national road team ahead of the World Championships in Copenhagen on a part-time basis.
The national body has since launched an investigation which is being lead by Cycling Australia president Graham Fredericks into White's dismissal however, he is confident he will be able to continue in his role.
"At the moment I'm employed through until the World Championships and I suppose I've now got more time on my hands to get the best out of that. I also understand that CA need to follow due process."
White was due to fly back to Europe on Wednesday but is still not sure of his immediate plans.
"I'm still undecided," he said. "I will have to go to Spain to pack up my stuff but what my future holds we will just have to wait."
Eisel, 29, won the Spring Classic Gent-Wevelgem in 2010. The Austrian joined a large escape group late in the race, but the high pace cut the break down. Eisel easily won the sprint from the six-man group at the finish line.
In addition, Eisel also brought in a total of 11 top ten finishes during the season.
“He has more than earned this award, and it comes just before his 30th birthday on February 17,” said Rudolf Massak, general secretary of the Austrian cycling federation.
Eisel noted that “Austria isn't a hotbed of cycling,” but that the nation's cyclists had represented the country well in various disciplines. “For this reason I am very honoured to be voted Cyclist of the Year in Austria for the second time since 2006. I am now in my 11th year as a pro cyclist and hope that I will have many years ahead of me to continue being a worthy representative of Austrian cycling."
Eisel won with 39.5% of the votes. Second place went to 2009's winner, mountain biker Lisi Osl.
Third place went to Josef Benetseder of Team Vorarlberg,who won the King of the Mountains ranking at the Tour of Austria last year.
BKCP-Power Plus owners would run two separate teams
The owners of Niels Albert’s BKCP-Power Plus team have expressed their interest in buying the Telenet-Fidea squad from Hans van Kasteren. Brothers Christophe and Philip Roodhooft wish to purchase the team and maintain it as a separate entity from BKCP-Power Plus.
“We don’t want a team like that to disappear from the cyclo-cross landscape,” Chrstiophe Roodhoft told HLN.be. Telenet-Fidea manager Hans van Kasteren is to step down at the end of the season, while the team’s star commodity ZdenÄk Stybar has been heavily linked with a move to Quick Step.
Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere has also been rumoured to be considering purchasing the Telenet-Fidea squad in a bid to land Stybar. However, if the Roodhooft brothers are to purchase Telenet-Fidea, it will be without Stybar, while Niels Albert will remain at BKCP-Power Plus.
“Niels Albert will stay as leader of BKCP-Power Plus,” Roodhooft said. “Telenet-Fidea would be extended further around Tom Meeusen and Bart Wellens, with Danny De Bie as director.”
Hans van Kasteren confirmed that he has been in negotiations with the Roodhooft brothers but explained that he will not make a decision on the future of Telenet-Fidea until after this weekend’s world championships.
“I haven’t worked on the follow-up [to the negotiations],” van Kasteren said. “That will not be until early February at least, until after the Worlds. My riders always take priority."
“With respect to the team management, there are twenty possible scenarios but for the purchase of the team, so far the Roodhooft brothers are the only official candidates. I hear now that Patrick Lefevere might be interested, but again, these are matters for early February.”
According to reports in both Marca and El Pais, the Competition Committee of the Federación Española de Ciclismo will meet on Thursday after Carmen Victoria Lopez, the judge handling the investigation for the Federation, submits her conclusions.
The UCI has still to send its scientific consultancy dossier on the case to the RFEC but Cyclingnews understands that the dossier is set to arrive in the next few days.
Contador is currently training with his new Saxo Bank-SunGard teammates in Mallorca. His spokesman Jacinto Vidarte told Cyclingnews they know nothing about a possible verdict on Thursday or a one-year ban.
"It's pure speculation by the Spanish media, we don't know when a verdict will be reached. It is up to the Spanish Cycling Federation to decide when they reach a verdict," Vidarte said.
According to a report in Gazzetta dello Sport, no formal disciplinary hearing will be held, with both Victoria Lopez and Contador’s defence team submitting written documents. Contador’s defence is reported to be almost 100 pages long and reaffirms his claims that the Clenbuterol positive was sparked by eating contaminated meat.
Both Marca and El Pais suggest that Contador will be banned for a year, perhaps because the Clenbuterol consumption could considered involuntary, with any suspension likely to end on August 24, 2011.
Under UCI rules, if Contador is banned, he will also lose his 2010 Tour de France victory. Under RFEC rules, Contador has ten days to appeal against the sentence in Spain. He, the UCI or the World Anti-Doping Agency could also appeal against the verdict to the Court for Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. However, any appeal to the CAS would take several months and mean that Contador would probably miss this year’s Tour de France even if he is cleared.
Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol on the second rest day of last year’s Tour de France in Pau. He has always claimed the positive test was caused by meat that only he ate, brought to the team’s hotel by a friend from Spain. He has threatened to quit the sport if he is suspended. Clenbuterol contamination is common in China and Mexico but official data and controls indicate cases are very rare in Europe after the muscle boosting drug was banned in 1996.
Saxo Bank-SunGard team manager Bjarne Riis and other riders will hold a press conference in Mallorca on Friday but Contador will not participate and will not give interviews while his case is still pending.
Endurance riders from Team Sky and the Great Britain national team are taking part in a combined training camp in Mallorca, which allows them to share resources and benefit from working together.
Last year Team Sky opted to hold its training camp on mainland Spain, in Valencia, but team manager David Brailsford decided to return to the Mediterranean island to create one bigger camp, where riders can ‘drop-in’ for more flexible blocks of training to better suit their racing and training needs.
“We’ve taken over the hotel for two and half months, creating a kind of drop-in centre, compared to a camp a week or ten days. It facilities better training and there are smaller groups, so the rides are specific to the individual riders,” Brailsford told Cyclingnews.
Brailsford also talked about new coach Bobby Julich, who joined Team Sky after working with Saxo Bank in 2010. Brailsford explains how Team Sky has divided the roles of rider coach and directeur sportif.